Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) are 12-year old friends who are about to go to their first kissing party, but find themselves caught up in increasingly dangerous situations when they accidentally destroy an expensive drone and somehow come into possession of MDMA belonging to two college students (Molly Gordon and Midori Francis).
'Superbad' has a lot to answer for, as there have been so many teenage friendship movies sparked up around it and none have ever really matched it. The reality is that what made it so special wasn't necessarily the set-up or even the script, it was Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Michael Cera's dynamic together. You also had a supporting cast that included future Oscar winner Emma Stone, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, and 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' alum Joe Lo Truglio.
What stops 'Good Boys' from being great isn't the willingness to go to some pretty messed-up places for twelve-year old boys, or even their ability to curse like a sailor. It's that there just isn't that same spark together that the trio of Hill, Cera and Mintz-Plasse has. Clearly, writing / directing duo Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky are trying to draft off 'Superbad' and that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are producers isn't any surprise. They themselves have rehashed 'Superbad' in various forms, all with limited degrees of success.
The direction from Stupnitsky is fine, if a little obvious and stilted in parts. The trio - Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon and Keith L. Williams - all have their own unique talents and they're each given an interesting story to explore. Yet, like so many mid-tier comedies, the best moments are often in the trailer and the rest of the movie feels like build up to those moments. More to the point, for a movie that's 95 minutes long, there's more than a couple of moments where it feels like it's spinning its wheels to pad out the time than driving towards a joke or a story beat.
All that said, 'Good Boys' has its moments and it's definitely going to give you a laugh despite your best efforts not to. It's not cerebral and it's certainly nothing you haven't already seen before, but it's a decent attempt at recreating those comedies with an even younger cast that isn't afraid to make dark jokes or engage in lightly criminal behaviour.