A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Good Boys is a very raunchy comedy about sixth-graders hoping to attend a kissing party. Though it's funny and eventually rather sweet, it's not for kids. It involves extremely strong, constant language, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more, much of it spoken by the boys. There's also pervasive sex-related talk and images of sex toys (the boys don't know what they're for), a sex doll, and the start of an online porn video. Tween boys and girls kiss. Drugs are part of the plot, especially Molly pills that two teen girls are after and eventually take (they enjoy the drug's euphoric qualities). Tweens take sips of beer and are part of a play that depicts cocaine use. College students sell drugs and smoke pot. There's a comical fight scene, with paintball gun shooting, punching, throwing, and bashing with paddles, plus a comical dislocated arm (and the painful resetting of the arm). Some brands are shown, including New Balance sneakers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In GOOD BOYS, best friends Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) -- also known as the Beanbag Boys -- have just entered the sixth grade. Max has a huge crush on Brixlee (Millie Davis) and is thrilled and terrified to be invited to a "kissing party" that she'll also be attending. Determined to learn how to kiss, the boys ditch school and take out Max's father's drone to spy on two teen girls, Hannah (Molly Gordon) and Lily (Midori Francis), but they lose the drone. While trying to get it back, Thor steals Lily's purse, which, unbeknownst to the boys, has illegal drugs in it. When both the drone and the drugs are lost, the boys must go on a journey to replace both, avoid being grounded, and make it to the party in time for the kiss.
Is it any good?
A sixth grade version of Superbad, this comedy walks some shaky territory, but the naïve quality of the boys crossed with the broad, goofball, vulgar humor makes for a surprisingly sweet story. Co-produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Good Boys deliberately walks in Superbad's footsteps (Rogen and Goldberg wrote that movie), but the twist is that the Beanbag Boys really don't know much about the world, and the chasm between their imagination and reality creates quite a few pretty good jokes. It's definitely shocking to see and hear such young kids swearing and talking about sex and drugs, but it's all actually a part of learning how to grow up and belong.
The three boys make a great squad, teetering between playing kids' games and jumping headlong into the adult world (Stranger Things tackles similar, painful themes). They're interested in forbidden, grown-up things like sex and alcohol, but find them strange, shocking, and abhorrent when they actually come into contact. Better still, when they have a knockdown, drag-out argument, it ends with all three of them in tears. Though they try to act a certain way, they are actually totally unfiltered, and refreshingly honest because of it. Good Boys isn't a movie for kids, perhaps not even high schoolers, but it's for anyone who ever navigated the pitfall-laden labyrinth that's the end of childhood.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Good Boys' depiction of alcohol and drugs. Are these things made to look cool or glamorous? How so? Are there consequences for using them?
How strong is the movie's violence? Is it cartoonish, or realistic? Is it shocking, or does it make you cheer? How does the movie achieve this effect?
Have you ever been to a kissing party? Was it uncomfortable? Memorable? Is it a necessary rite of passage, or is it wrong?
How does the movie compare to Superbad? How do both movies depict growing up and possibly growing apart from childhood friends?
- In theaters: August 16, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: November 12, 2019
- Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Will Forte
- Director: Gene Stupnitsky
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language throughout - all involving tweens
- Last updated: December 29, 2020
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