GOOD BOYS – Review by Susan Granger

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As a critic, I judge a movie by how well it accomplishes what it sets out to do. If it’s a comedy, it should be funny. So despite my misgivings about preteens’ spewing raunchy vulgarities, Gene Stupinsky’s coming-of-age story seems to amuse audiences, particularly in this era of sensitivity towards topics like sexual identity, bullying and objectification of women.

Opening with a father-and-son talk about masturbation, three awkward, affably innocent sixth-grade boys are nervously anticipating their first kissing party.

Known as the Bean Bag Boys, Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon have been friends since kindergarten. At their suburban middle school, they’re mocked as ‘uncool’ by the Scooter Squad, led by Atticus (Chance Hurstfield).

When shy Max yearns to kiss Brixlie (Millie Davis), a skateboarding girl he likes, in prepubescent confusion he turns to rule-abiding Lucas and aspiring pop-star Thor to search for information about kissing on the Internet and practice on what they think is a CPR doll.

When that fails to satisfy their curiosity, they use an expensive drone that belongs to Max’s dad (Will Forte) to try to spy on a real couple making-out.

Eventually, they grab a bottle of ‘Molly,’ make a precarious, five-mile trip to the mall and taste a few sips of warm beer. Meanwhile, Lucas’ parents (Retta, Lil Rel Howery) are planning to get a divorce, and it’s obvious that 12 year-old boys aren’t ready to cope with the harsh reality of adult sex toys, BDSM gear and explicit pornography.

Scripted by Lee Eisenberg and director Gene Stupinsky (co-writers of Bad Teacher and TV’s The Office), it’s produced by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen (Superbad), who make sure there’s a crass mix of fresh-faced spontaneity and snappy set pieces revolving around adolescent angst and child-proof locks.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Good Boys is a shocking, smutty sweet 6, filled with sticky, R-rated misadventures and a poignant epilogue.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.