Twelve-year-olds Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) have been best friends all their lives, referring to themselves the Bean Bag Boys. As they head into the sixth grade, they are moving on from elementary school and entering the strange new world of middle school, where they begin to discover that their lives are headed on different paths. Max has hit puberty first, and is obsessed with classmate Brixlee (Millie Davis)—whenever he sees her, things move in slow motion. Lucas and Thor, on the other hand, aren’t yet interested in girls. Thor is excited to try out for the school’s big musical, Rock of Ages, while Lucas just enjoys hanging out with his friends and playing D&D. That said, they all look up to the cool kids at school, and want to be accepted by them.
Max gets invited to a party hosted by Soren (Izaac Wang), one of the coolest kids in their class, and manages to get Lucas and Thor invited as well. However, it’s a kissing party, and none of the boys have any experience with that. So Max borrows his father’s drone—something he was explicitly forbidden to do—in order to spy on his “nymphomaniac” teenage neighbor Hannah (Molly Gordon) and her friend Lily (Midori Francis), to hopefully get some kissing pointers. The boys manage to lose the drone in the process—the girls didn’t like that they were being spied on, and snatched the drone, taking it hostage. The boys are desperate to get the drone back before Max’s father discovers it’s missing and grounds him, which would prevent him from going to the party, where he would finally kiss Brixlee. So the boys retaliate, stealing something belonging to the girls as collateral, which they soon discover is a container of drugs.
This kicks off a wild adventure that finds the boys skipping school, on the run from the cops and the two angry teen girls who want their stolen drugs back, and unknowingly utilizing a plethora of various sex toys and paraphernalia they find in Max’s parents’ bedroom as makeshift weapons, disguises, and bargaining chips. Over the course of their adventure, the boys discover that they each have different priorities, and start to contemplate the their futures and friendship, and what all of that means for the Bean Bag Boys.
On the surface Good Boys may seem like just another R-rated raunchy comedy, but the filmmakers have managed to find a unique way to blend incredibly inappropriate, laugh-out-loud, raunchy humor with a heartfelt coming of age story. Actress Midori Francis summed it up pretty nicely in one of the Blu-ray bonus features, referring to the film as Stand By Me with anal beads. For anyone who is easily offended, the language and sex talk is way over-the-top, with 12-year-olds constantly dropping the F-bomb and talking about sex acts, which, despite their confidence and conviction, the boys are completely clueless about. The film comes from the same producers as Sausage Party, and I was initially worried about that. I was never able to watch that film a second time as I found it way too graphic and offensive rather than funny. That film went for the comedic shock value by using cute animated characters juxtaposed with over-the-top sex and language. This film does something similar, using cursing 12-year-olds instead of the animation for the shock value, but the reason why this film works and that didn’t is that Good Boys is not graphic at all. Anything sex-related in this film is just talk, explained by kids who have heard the words but know nothing of their actual meaning.
The young cast is hilarious, and have such great chemistry with one another. Keith L. Williams was the standout for me as the constant do-gooder Lucas. Lucas is clueless that there’s anything wrong at home until his parents drop the bombshell that they are going to get a divorce. Then his whole world comes crashing down around him, and he seeks out order and rules, and is desperate to keep the Bean Bag Boys together—he doesn’t want the only other relationship in his life to also fall apart. Meanwhile, Thor is just desperate to be accepted by the popular kids, and shed off the horrible “Sippy Cup” nickname he was given after he chickened out of taking a sip of beer. At the same time, he loves musical theater, and just wants to be a part of the new drama teacher’s hilariously age-inappropriate production of Rock of Ages. But these two things seem to clash and he must make a decision of where his true priorities lie. At the same time, Max is now at a stage in his life that his two best friends don’t fully understand. They want to support him, but as the day gets crazier and crazier, they start to question if it’s all worth it.
Watching this film for the second time around, I still found myself laughing out loud at the insane antics and totally inappropriate things that come out of these kids’ mouths. I don’t recall anyone talking like this when I was in sixth grade, but maybe that’s what made it so funny—the language and things these boys talk about is just way over the top. I mean, there’s a scene where parents are watching the school production of Rock of Ages and no one seems phased by the fact that a 12-year-old is playing an aging rock star “snorting drugs” in a bathroom stall. I could re-watch this film over and over and still find more things to laugh at.
Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds fantastic—I can’t imagine a 4K release looking much better. The disc provides a clean, detailed picture that looks quite pristine. The audio track provides clear dialogue as well as a generally immersive viewing experience, utilizing the surround and stereo channels to add ambiance and bring the on-screen craziness to life.
The Blu-ray release includes both a Blu-ray disc and a DVD packed in standard HD keepcase with a slipcover. On one side of the enclosed insert is a code to redeem for an HD Movies Anywhere digital copy of the film, and on the other is a code to redeem for an additional free digital film from Universal from a selection of six titles (the list of titles changes every 4 months or so). The Blu-ray contains a small but entertaining assortment of bonus material, consisting of about 12 minutes of alternate/extended/deleted scenes, a gag reel, about 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes and interviews, and a somewhat lackluster audio commentary with the director and co-writer. There is a convenient Play All option that makes it really simple to make your way through the bonus content. I was surprised that the various trailers for the film were not included as they contained several different takes of various jokes in various levels of cleanliness that didn’t appear in the deleted/alternate scenes.
- 1080p / Widescreen 2.39:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service), Spanish 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
- Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- HD digital copy redeemable via Movies Anywhere
- Bonus Digital Movie (Redemption Deadline 3/13/2020)
Additional bonus digital movie redeemable at www.upherewards.com. At the time of this review, the list of available titles includes Dead Again in Tombstone, Dracula (1931), Ratchet & Clank, The Stolen, Frankenstein (1931) and American Girl: Lea to the Rescue, but these change every 4 months or so.
Digital (for redemption deadline, see NBCUcodes.com):
All bonus features are included on the Blu-ray, DVD and digital, and there is a Play All option.
- Alternate Ending (2:00)
The boys talk at the play after-party, discussing pubes, and the difference between oral sex and blowjobs. In this version, Max never broke up with Brixlee.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:26)
Collection of 11 deleted/extended scenes. Play All, or select from “Turtle vs. Tortoise”, “Benji Don’t Like That”, “Customer Service”, “Ball Pit Shenanigans”, “Tracking Molly”, “Stealing a Glance”, “Upsell Fail”, “Max Explodes”, “Best Friends”, “Traffic Jam”, and “First Kiss Heartbreak”.
- Boys For Real (3:12)
The filmmakers talk about casting the Bean Bag Boys, and the real-life friendship that formed between the young actors. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producer James Weaver, executive producer Josh Fagen, co-writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg, and stars Keith L. Williams (“Lucas”), Brady Noon (“Thor”), Jacob Tremblay (“Max”), and Midori Francis (“Lily”).
- Gag Reel (2:07)
The cast flub their lines, deal with malfunctioning props, crack each other up, and curse a lot
- Welcome To Vancouver (1:07)
The cast and the filmmakers talk about filming in star Jacob Tremblay’s home town, and even his real school. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producer James Weaver, executive producer Josh Fagen, co-writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg and stars Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon and Keith L. Williams.
- A Fine Line (2:41)
The cast and filmmaker’s talk about the film’s use of colorful and explicit language, and how the boys often repeated lines they didn’t understand. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with co-writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg, producers Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, Jacob Tremblay’s father, and stars Jacob Tremblay, Molly Gordon (“Hannah”), Brady Noon, Midori Francis, and Keith L. Williams.
- Ask Your Parents (2:07)
The cast and filmmaker’s talk about the riding the edge of the acceptable adult situations, and avoiding the boys’ adult questions. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producers Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, producer James Weaver, executive producer Josh Fagen, co-writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg, and stars Keith L. Williams, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, and Jacob Tremblay.
- Bad Girls (1:45)
The cast and filmmaker’s talk about the female villains who just want their drugs back, and the precocious 7-year-old Annabelle who thinks she knows everything about the adult world. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producers Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, co-writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg, producer James Weaver, executive producer Josh Fagen, and stars Midori Francis and Molly Gordon.
- Guest Stars (2:39)
The cast and filmmakers talk about the great comedic cameos in the film. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producer Seth Rogen, producer James Weaver, executive producer Josh Fagen, co-writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, co-writer/producer Lee Eisenberg, producer Evan Goldberg, and stars Will Forte (“Max’s Dad”), Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Stephen Merchant (“Claude”) and Sam Richardson (“Officer Sacks”).
- Feature Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Gene Stupnitsky and Producer/Co-Writer Lee Eisenberg (1:29:37)
Director/co-writer Gene Stupnitsky and producer/co-writer Lee Eisenberg provide a somewhat lackluster commentary throughout the film—they often spend long periods of time just watching the film and saying nothing, or just popping in for a quick comment about liking the scene. There is the odd behind-the-scenes anecdote here and there, but overall the commentary is skippable.
Good Boys is certainly not going to be a movie for everyone. However, for those who aren’t easily offended by excessive language or the idea of 12-year-old constantly and cluelessly talking about sex, this film will be a hilarious, fun time. Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds excellent, and contains some entertaining bonus material. This highly entertaining release is definitely worth checking out. Bean Bag Boys For Life!