From the guys that brought you “Superbad”, three sixth grade boys go on an epic journey as they try to make it to a long-awaited party.
Jacob Tremblay is, by all accounts, a good boy:Â HeÂ loves his mom and dad, adores â€œStar Warsâ€ and doesnâ€™t curse.
His character Max in the R-rated comedy â€œGood Boysâ€ (in theaters Friday) has a foulÂ mouth.Â Tremblay, 12, drops an f-bomb in his first line, and it gets worse â€“ and funnier â€“ from there.
â€œI’ve sworn in movies before, but definitely not as much as this where I’m swearing like in every single scene,â€ the actorÂ says.
Four-letter words are just one aspect of the nonstop inappropriateness that transpires withÂ Max and best friends Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) in â€œGood Boys.” These newly minted sixth-graders are beginning to expand their horizons, with Max crushing hard on a classmateÂ and Thor dreaming ofÂ a lead role in a kid â€œRock of Ages.â€Â
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On the way to partying with some popular classmates, the three rapscallions watchÂ internet porn (and are horrified), mistakeÂ a sex doll for a CPR dummy, accidentally stealÂ molly from older girls, destroyÂ Maxâ€™s dad’s (played by Will Forte) beloved drone and shoot paintballs at frat boys.
â€œGood Boysâ€ is the latest mature-themed comedy from producing partnersÂ Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, following the teenage shenanigans of â€œSuperbadâ€ and ribald groceries of the animated â€œSausage Party.â€ â€œGood Boysâ€ is the first to focus on tweens, but the movie balances the edginess with sweetness and heart, plus tackles consent and other timely issues through the eyes of its youngsters.
â€œThese kids clearly are growing up in the same culture as us and are having the same conversations and trying to be good people,â€ Rogen says. â€œItâ€™s nice because it allows us to infuse the things that we in our real lives talk about, and it makes the movie more reflective of the audience’s experience.â€
So who exactly is the audience for â€œGood Boysâ€? Well, grown-ups, for sure. â€œSuperbadâ€ featured 16-year-olds and “it was definitely viewed by people who are much older than that,â€ says Rogen, notingÂ that â€œSouth Parkâ€ also involves preteens a little younger than those in â€œGood Boys.â€Â
And older folksÂ can relate to the evolving preteen lives of Max, Lucas and Thor.
â€œNo one forgets, unless you’re that random lucky person who’s just cool and awesome and everyone likes,â€ Goldberg says. â€œThe 99% of the rest of us have to go through this crazy emotional experience when you’re so young and you don’t understand things.â€
That innocenceÂ â€œgives us a really funny portal into what is a changing time for most everyone.â€
Noon understands theÂ appeal for adults, because they want to see how kids act now versus when they were a child.
â€œYou think back to sixth grade and are like, â€˜What was I doing in sixth grade?â€™ â€ says Noon, aÂ New Jersey nativeÂ who at 13 considers himself â€œthe dad of the group.â€
But tween boys riding bikes and doing the â€œFortniteâ€ dance are naturally going to appeal to younger moviegoers, even if the movieÂ isÂ rated R.
â€œThere areÂ some kids whose life mission is to see things before they should,â€ Goldberg says.
Using language that would get them in serious trouble off-screen was a thrill for the trio. â€œIt was cool because I’m just acting,â€ says Williams, 12, whose Lucas is cautious and honest to a fault. â€œThat’s not really me saying that. That’s my character.â€
The f-bombs fly from the core kids, who donâ€™t recognize the sexual context at all.
â€œThey are trying so desperately to use these words that they’ve heard, but they just don’t know how to use them properly and what they mean,â€ Rogen says.
There is one bit where the boys find a trove of sex toys and assume theyâ€™re weapons. Filming that sequenceÂ was â€œweird”Â for Tremblay. Noon admits he â€œdidn’t really know what I was holdingâ€ and still doesnâ€™t.
â€œI’m not going to lie: My mom tells me what I need to know and that’s it,â€ he says.
Aside from the rampant cursing, Noon thinks the broad comedy of â€œGood Boysâ€ is borderline PG-13. Tremblay, though, is glad it wasnâ€™t toned down.
â€œIf there was a PG-13 cut of this movie, it’d be maybe two minutes long at most,â€ Tremblay says. â€œKids at my school are talking about how they’re going to see it, and I’m like, â€˜No, you can’t see it! It’s going to ruin your childhood! It’s going to rot your little brain!â€™ So they’re going to sneak in.â€
As far as whether it’s OK for youngsters to seeÂ â€œGood Boys,â€ whether on the sly or with a grown-up, â€œI leave that up to the parents,â€ Rogen says.Â â€œI saw â€˜Pulp Fictionâ€™ when I was 12. Was that a good idea? I don’t know. That’s for sure worse than this.â€
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Lorey Sebastian, Disney Enterprises