The comedy “Good Boys” is a lot like the three sixth-graders at its center: Funny, sweet, charming and completely obsessed with sex. Unlike these kids, though, the movie is also smart about sexual awakening and knowing about friendship.
The Beanbag Boys — that’s what these three call themselves — are entering sixth grade, and they’re determined not to be seen as kids any more. “We’re not kids, we’re tweens,” says Max (“Room” star Jacob Tremblay), who scores an invite to a cool kid’s party, where kissing will be happening.
For Max, the prospect of kissing means he might get to connect with Brixlee (Millie Davis), on whom he has a crush. But Max has never kissed, and doesn’t want to be caught short.
Max’s friends have their own concerns. Tough-talking Thor (Brady Noon) wants to be seen as cool, even if that means not auditioning in their middle school’s production of “Rock of Ages” to avoid the teasing of school bully Atticus (Chance Hurstfield). And Lucas (Keith L. Williams) is dealing with his emotions after his parents (Lil Rel Howery and Retta) tell him they’re getting a divorce.
The boys’ pursuit of intel on kissing leads them to borrow the prized drone of Max’s dad (Will Forte), by which they cross paths with two savvy high school girls (Molly Gordon, from “Booksmart,” and Midori Francis). A mad scramble ensues, involving a bottle of illegal drugs, and Thor’s parents’ stash of sex toys — which the boys stuff into a backpack with no idea how they’re used.
The writing team of Gene Stupnitsky (making his directing debut) and Lee Eisenberg, as they did in “Bad Teacher,” lets their characters speak the foul-mouthed thoughts a more polite movie wouldn’t even consider. The gags — including a real ball gag — are hilarious, as the kids try to act like they understand the sexual content they encounter when they try to cross over into grown-up territory.
Still, the boys’ innocent charm, as they strive to stay friends even as puberty is pulling them into different directions, shines through even the dirtiest jokes, making “Good Boys” pure of heart even when the jokes are filthy.
Opening Friday, August 16, at theaters everywhere. Rated R for strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language throughout - all involving tweens. Running time: 89 minutes.