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: He loves his mom and dad, adores “Star Wars” and doesn’t curse.
His character Max in the R-rated comedy “Good Boys” (in theaters Friday) has a foul mouth. Tremblay, 12, drops an f-bomb in his first line, and it gets worse – and funnier – from there.
“I’ve sworn in movies before, but definitely not as much as this where I’m swearing like in every single scene,” the actor says.
Four-letter words are just one aspect of the nonstop inappropriateness that transpires with Max and best friends Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) in “Good Boys.” These newly minted sixth-graders are beginning to expand their horizons, with Max crushing hard on a classmate and Thor dreaming of a lead role in a kid “Rock of Ages.”
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On the way to partying with some popular classmates, the three rapscallions watch internet porn (and are horrified), mistake a sex doll for a CPR dummy, accidentally steal molly from older girls, destroy Max’s dad’s (played by Will Forte) beloved drone and shoot paintballs at frat boys.
“Good Boys” is the latest mature-themed comedy from producing partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, following the teenage shenanigans of “Superbad” and ribald groceries of the animated “Sausage Party.” “Good Boys” 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.
“These kids clearly are growing up in the same culture as us and are having the same conversations and trying to be good people,” Rogen says. “It’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.”
So who exactly is the audience for “Good Boys”? Well, grown-ups, for sure. “Superbad” featured 16-year-olds and “it was definitely viewed by people who are much older than that,” says Rogen, noting that “South Park” also involves preteens a little younger than those in “Good Boys.”
And older folks can relate to the evolving preteen lives of Max, Lucas and Thor.
“No one forgets, unless you’re that random lucky person who’s just cool and awesome and everyone likes,” Goldberg says. “The 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.”
That innocence “gives us a really funny portal into what is a changing time for most everyone.”
Noon understands the appeal for adults, because they want to see how kids act now versus when they were a child.
“You think back to sixth grade and are like, ‘What was I doing in sixth grade?’ ” says Noon, a New Jersey native who at 13 considers himself “the dad of the group.”
But tween boys riding bikes and doing the “Fortnite” dance are naturally going to appeal to younger moviegoers, even if the movie is rated R.
“There are some kids whose life mission is to see things before they should,” Goldberg says.
Using language that would get them in serious trouble off-screen was a thrill for the trio. “It was cool because I’m just acting,” says Williams, 12, whose Lucas is cautious and honest to a fault. “That’s not really me saying that. That’s my character.”
The f-bombs fly from the core kids, who don’t recognize the sexual context at all.
“They 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,” Rogen says.
There is one bit where the boys find a trove of sex toys and assume they’re weapons. Filming that sequence was “weird” for Tremblay. Noon admits he “didn’t really know what I was holding” and still doesn’t.
“I’m not going to lie: My mom tells me what I need to know and that’s it,” he says.
Aside from the rampant cursing, Noon thinks the broad comedy of “Good Boys” is borderline PG-13. Tremblay, though, is glad it wasn’t toned down.
“If there was a PG-13 cut of this movie, it’d be maybe two minutes long at most,” Tremblay says. “Kids at my school are talking about how they’re going to see it, and I’m like, ‘No, you can’t see it! It’s going to ruin your childhood! It’s going to rot your little brain!’ So they’re going to sneak in.”
As far as whether it’s OK for youngsters to see “Good Boys,” whether on the sly or with a grown-up, “I leave that up to the parents,” Rogen says. “I saw ‘Pulp Fiction’ when I was 12. Was that a good idea? I don’t know. That’s for sure worse than this.”
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Lorey Sebastian, Disney Enterprises
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