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Good Boys

Three tweens make us laugh while learning the ins and outs of the grownup world

© Universal Pictures / Things go from bad to worse when good boys Lucas (Keith L. Williams), Max (Jacob Tremblay) and Thor (Brady Noon) steal Max’s dad’s drone to spy on the teen girls.
      Tweens Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) call themselves the Beanbag Boys. Best friends since they were five, they happily fill their days with roleplaying, hiding from Thor’s creepy little sister and trying to puzzle out the grownup world. 
      But the Beanbag Boys are changing. Max has his first crush and is enslaved by surging hormones. Thor loves musical theater but fears being bullied because of his interest. Lucas is wrapped up in roleplaying games and doing the right thing.
      When Max is invited to a kissing party, he wants his two best friends to join him. If only one of them knew how to kiss. 
     To learn, the boys conspire to use Max’s father’s drone to spy on the teen girls next door. Naturally they get caught, and the drone is destroyed. To get to the kissing party, the Beanbag Boys will have to skip school, buy a new drone and get it back before anybody knows its missing.
     Profane and hilarious, Good Boys is the rare raunchy comedy delivering real laughs from a strong story. For his his feature debut, director Gene Stupnitsky has made one of the most touching comedies that’s ever featured a sex doll. He succeeds by balancing raunchy humor with sweetness. The boys swear and lie, but at heart they’re pretty good kids. They want to save their neighborhood from drugs, do the right thing and support each other.
      The plot develops as a running series of misunderstandings as they try to navigate the adult world with a very sheltered perception of how things work. A sex doll in a parent’s closet is taken for a CPR dummy. They’re sure that even being near party drugs will ruin their lives. They’re positive that everyone else in sixth grade knows how to kiss. Because the Beanbag Boys are so desperate to fit in, they refuse to ask questions, and these assumptions spiral into disaster.
     At the center of the comedy are three excellent performances. Tremblay, who’s already earned dozens of awards for his work in Room, anchors the film. His Max is a focused little boy who isn’t always aware of the mayhem his selfish decisions can make. Noon is brilliant as Thor, a boy who desperately wants to be cool but can’t connect with the popular kids. Williams’ Lucas is a straight arrow who feels no shame in being a “good boy.”
     As the trio stumble through increasingly outlandish situations, they learn to work together and embrace their differences. It’s a startling wholesome message for a vulgar movie. If, however, you’re thinking of taking a bunch of 12-year-olds, think again. This flick could give them some terrible ideas.
Good Comedy • R • 95 mins.
 
~~~ New this Week ~~~
Angel Has Fallen
      After an assassination attempt almost kills the president (Morgan Freeman), Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is accused of masterminding the crime.
     The third in the Presidents in Peril trilogy, Angel Has Fallen is one of those movies that no reviewer will talk you out of. I could mention increasingly shoddy scripts, the weirdly racist and jingoistic tones in the second film or the fact that if Mike Banning was half as good as he’s purported to be, the president wouldn’t be almost killed in every movie.
      All of that is true, but none of it matters. This is a movie that has a following that doesn’t care about details like plot or acting. 
Prospects: Dim • R • 114 mins. 
 
Brittany Runs a Marathon
     Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) basically fails to function as an adult. She parties every night and can barely hold down a job. When a doctor warns her to change her lifestyle, she starts running.
     At first, Brittany can barely run a block. But slowly, she builds stamina and self confidence.
     Will running turn her life around? Or will Brittany quit when the going gets tough? 
     It’s a comedy and Bell is entertaining, so if you go you can expect to enjoy yourself while learning about making healthy choices. 
Prospects: Bright • R • 104 mins. 
 
Overcomer
     When the closing of a local plant forces families to move in search of work, John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) loses his basketball team. His new assignment is the girls’ cross country team, an overstatement as it consists of a single asthmatic girl.
      Amid uncertainty, Harrison looks to his faith to guide him.
      Less a movie than a two-hour sermon, Overcomer is the latest in the Kendrick Brothers’ list of faith-based movies long on message but short on story and acting.
Prospects: Dim • PG • 115 mins. 
 
The Peanut Butter Falcon 
     Zak (Zack Gottsagen) refuses to let his genetics determine his life. Born with Down Syndrome, he lives in a residential facility. Forbidden to attend his idol The Salt Water Redneck’s wrestling school, he breaks out. Along the way, he befriends Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a man on the run who offers to coach Zak in life and wrestling.
      Can the two find their way as they raft down river toward their dreams? 
     A Mark Twain-inspired tale of misfits on the river, the buzz suggest this film is genuinely heartfelt, with a touch of classic Americana adventuring. 
Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 93 mins. 
 
Ready or Not
     After years in foster care, Grace (Samara Weaving) has married into one of the wealthiest families in America.
     As the newest member of the Le Domas gaming family dynasty, Grace is told she must select a game to play at midnight. What she’s not told is the deadly consequences of her actions. Can Grace make it through the game? Or is she the latest in a litany of sacrifices. 
      Smart and surprisingly funny, Ready or Not is a bloody good horror comedy. It’s pumped up with smart observations on the rich, lots of gore and some hilarious dialogue. 
Good Horror Comedy • R • 95 mins.