‘Good Boys’ SXSW Review: The Stars Are Good Even When They’re Breaking Bad

The writers of Superbad and producers of Sausage Party teamed up to tell a story about three best friends named Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon). The sixth graders who called themselves, the “Bean Bag Boys,” are considered awkward even by their young classmates. However, their luck is about to change when Max is invited to a kissing party and is allowed to bring Lucas and Thor.

Good Boys
Good Boys | Universal Pictures

Their goal of being accepted by their cooler peers brings up a relatable struggle people have at any age. However, it’s particularly hard for these characters for different reasons. Thor wants to be in the school’s musical, Lucas follows the rules to the letter, and Max has been friends with both of them for most of his life.

It’s also another buddy comedy, but the age of the main actors allows certain topics to be explored

The comedy has the same sexual humor as the writers and producers’ previous work. Their ages, however, puts a twist on things given that Max, Lucas, Thor have no idea how to even kiss or open a childproof medicine bottle. So when they come across even more mature circumstances they are left to using their innocent imagination to figure things out.

It’s also another buddy comedy, but the age of the main actors allows certain topics to be explored. The young boys refreshingly are aware of consent and bullying. The Bean Bag Boys are also very anti-drugs and have to confront their feelings about drugs when they accidentally take someone’s bag that has molly in it.

That plot probably sounds familiar to other comedies in the past like The Hangover. Movie fans will be happy to know there are movie references throughout the journey. Some of them are a little more predictable like Stand By Me. Then there are much more outrageous homages like to Boogie Nights.

Good Boys takes on the task of matching the action scenes that can be found in those movies. The direction of the biggest action scene uses sweeping cameras and slow motion to capture some of the craziest blows. By the end of the scene, you’ll want to revisit it multiple times.

Although the comedy is pretty adult and not for children, the story is a nice one in the end

It’s probably not surprising that Jacob Tremblay does a great job in the leading role given his past performances in Room and Wonder. Thankfully, his co-stars match him in every scene. Brady Noon sells being a passionate young singer, who can still be insecure. The movie’s secret weapon is Keith L. Williams given he has one of the more emotional subplots. He also is one of the most hilarious actors through his big reactions to crazy scenarios and being able to deliver some of the funniest lines with great authority.

Each of these characters get a moment to shine, which shows respect for each character. Even the “villains” of their story aren’t really portrayed as villains. You are rooting for all of the characters because they are all just kids and they are just figuring things out.

Although the comedy is pretty adult and not for children, the story is a nice one in the end. It’s about friendship and struggling with change. The characters are good boys who feel like they have to break bad to get what they want and that struggle leads to some funny situations. Those who like raunchy buddy comedies will like this one, and will be reminded of the days when they were in middle school in an unexpectedly sweet way.

Read more: ‘Booksmart’ SXSW Review: The Comedy Might Be a New High School Classic

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