Good Boys. (15.)
Directed by Gene Stupnitsky.
Starring Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis and Will Forte. 90 mins.
Back in the day, when Spielberg was mapping out the landscape of American suburbia, the sixth graders in Good Boys would have had to deal with alien invaders or time travel or bullies or poltergeists or being Goonies. Now, they are pre-teens in a teen comedy; they have to deal with alcohol, drugs, kissing, pornography, sex toys, frat house initiations and the horrors of peer pressure. Instead of E.T. they are in Porky's.
Max (Tremblay), Thor (Noon) and Lucas (Williams) are trying to deal with peer pressure and the impending teendom. Torn between the conflicting doctrines of hip hop nihilism and PC identity politics they are simultaneously jaded and cosseted. They've seen it all and are trying to make out that they understood it. They are foul mouthed yet respectful.
There are lots of big laughs and the three leads are sweet there's not a lot of joy here. A decade ago, with Superbad, executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg made the same film about themselves as teenagers on the cusp of adulthood. Taking it down a generation has resulted in a comedy about how western culture seems intent on stripping away every aspect of childhood innocence that is at the forefront of the assault.