By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Superbad now has a spiritual prequel and that movie is Good Boys. It is certainly fitting that this raunchy tween comedy comes from producers Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, three comedic talents responsible for Superbad. And yes, this movie deserves its R-rating. So for those who can’t handle wild and hilarious ribaldry, it is best to stay away. For those who relish in some lewd craziness with a tender heart, buy tickets now.

Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon star as best friends Max, Lucas and Thor. Having dubbed themselves “The Beanbag Boys,” this trio of buddies are dealing with a scary and unusual time in their lives–puberty. When Max and his buds get invited to their first “kissing party,” Max is in a frantic panic, as he has his eyes on classmate Brixlee (Millie Davis) and no kissing experience whatsoever. In a badly conceived plan that goes awry, Max and his crew attempt to spy on a couple of high school students, but manage to get themselves in a serious pickle. As the clock relentlessly counts down to the party, The Beanbag Boys embark on adventure involving sex toys, drugs, and ditching school.

Written and directed by Gene Stupinsky, who co-wrote with Lee Eisenberg, Good Boys is an uproarious comedy that wonderfully mixes raunchy gags with a sweet and innocent heart. I found myself laughing heartily and nearly to the point of dizziness. The movie does stretch some bounds of credibility at times, especially considering how savvy our modern tweens can be in the internet age. Still, as person who grew up without internet and only cable TV, I could definitely relate to the scary awkwardness of getting through middle school. And that’s what the filmmakers get mostly right. Middle school is a time of scary changes, developing hormones and developing interests that were previously non-existent.

In addition to the solid writing and direction, I was definitely impressed with the three lead actors who give the film much earnestness. Keith Williams gives a fantastic performance as the nerdiest and most innocent member of the group Lucas. Though Lucas is the tallest and biggest of the group, he is the most sensitive and big-hearted. As Thor, Brady Noon gives a breakthrough performance as a boy wrestling with his desire to be a musical actor. And I have to say, the boy can sing too! It isn’t easy being a drama geek when, the lure of being “cool” is so enticing.

It comes as no surprise that Jacob Tremblay gives another outstanding performance. With his excellent acting in Room, and his impressive turn in Wonder, I already knew how talented this young man is. As Max, Tremblay portrays the defacto leader of The Beanbag Boys and delivers another superb performance.

So even though this movie certainly goes for shock and awe, it still has plenty of love for its main characters and gives tweens what might be their first raunchy comedy. Obviously, this movie is not intended for kids of that age, but once this demographic reaches the proper age, they might appreciate this glimpse at a more innocent time on the cusp of discovering the realities of love, sex and identity.

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