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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 12:04 am

Sweet tone buoys Boys

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Bernard Allison plays the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ on Saturday night.

 

There’s much of what you’d expect in Good Boys and a bit of what you wouldn’t.  Produced by the same crew that brought us Superbad (2007) and concerning three middle schoolers, you know there will plenty of raunchy jokes, physical gags and questionable humor throughout.  The screenplay by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front, but what’s surprising is how genuinely sweet the film is, as it sees the likable trio of leads take their first tentative steps towards adulthood, leaving some childish concerns behind with no shortage of regret.

As with most things concerning ‘tweens, the situations our heroes find themselves in are of great urgency.  Max (Jacob Tremblay) has a major crush on the angelic Brixlee (Millie Davis) and longs to give her a necklace he made in art class and maybe even tell her he likes her.  This is of little concern to his two best buddies, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), as they have major issues of their own to contend with.  The former is being bullied and is afraid of pursuing his passion – musical theater and auditioning for the upcoming production of “Rock of Ages”- lest the abuse gets worse.  As for Lucas, he has the worst of problems as his parents are getting divorced, something he keeps from his two pals as he himself doesn’t know how to deal with it.  

All of these issues are dealt with in due time but not before a fair share of diversions, among them, replacing a high-end drone that belongs to Max’s dad (Will Forte) that was inadvertently destroyed, contending with two teenage girls who want to retrieve some drugs that have come into the trio’s possession and getting to a party thrown by the coolest kid in town where there will probably be kissing…and Brixlee just may be there!

The three young actors bring a heighted sense of urgency to each of these crises that only a sixth grader can muster, which makes their anguish all the more hilarious as well as relatable and cute.  Busick and Murphy’s script perfectly captures the language and emotion of this and in the process, you find yourself associating with, as well as chuckling at, their various dilemmas and reactions to them.  

To be sure, they fall back on the use of foul language far too often, a cheap way to get a laugh if ever there was one. However, they more than make up for that with some sincerely funny and inventive moments, including an uproarious sequence that finds the trio trashing a fraternity house and the dopes who live there as well as a scene of massive, yet contained destruction, as Max tries to navigate the drone around his house to disastrous results.  

While the laughs are obvious, the sentiment isn’t, as the poignancy surrounding these three young men’s experiences sneaks up on you.  Each learn that they may not have as much in common as they thought, that they might not be best friends for life and that each are developing different interests that may require venturing out of their safe zone.  They’re growing up and growing apart. Max, Thor and Lucas realize this once their grand adventure is over, coming to accept it with a sense of maturity that will hopefully grow with them.

To be sure, on the surface Good Boys is a good-natured, naughty romp of the sort we haven’t had, and have desperately needed, this summer.  Yet, it has a degree of heart and sense of maturity you wouldn’t expect, much like the likable threesome at its center.  

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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