If Booksmart was this year’s witty, girl-centric Superbad, then Good Boys (executive-produced, naturally, by Seth Rogen) is its smutty-sweet tween offspring: Superbrat.
The kids, for all their F-bombs and addled hormones, are actually all right — Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon), best friends united by the prepubescent bedlam of sixth grade. They’re still young enough for role-playing games in a pillow fort, but old enough to be invited to their first real party — the kissing kind.
The need to find out exactly what that means leads to a quixotic journey involving Max’s dad’s forbidden drone, a stolen bottle of molly, and a hazard-filled trip to the local mall, punctuated by profane interactions with various bemused grown-ups (including Retta, Will Forte, Molly Gordon, and Stephen Merchant). There are O-faced sex dolls and illicit freeway crossings, warm beers and rogue frat bros.
Mostly, the story is just scant scaffolding on which to hang cheerfully crass jokes about Stranger Things, anal beads, and cocaine. But it’s a winning showcase, too, for the loopy charm of its young stars: Room’s Tremblay as Max, the ideal Everyboy; Noon as the spiky but vulnerable Thor, a sort of fun-size Danny McBride; and Williams’ rule-abiding Lucas, a kid so earnestly transparent, it’s like he ate truth serum for breakfast. In the end, it’s their fundamental goodness — not all the wicked, winky “bad” — that’s easily the best thing about Boys. B–