Max, Lucas and Thor have been best buds for … nearly forever. As long as the three sixth-graders can remember anyway. They call themselves the Bean Bag Boys, ’cause … well, it’s a long story. But that name makes them sound mysterious, right? Right? Yeah, they think so, too.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, this isn’t a trio of uninformed kids. They know things. They know all about bad words, for instance. Yep, these tweens spit them out all the time. The four letter words, the three letter ones. Thor even knows a nasty one with seven letters. They know about drugs and booze, too. Hey, two of them even got loaded on two sips of beer … each! Lucas backed out, but he’s got a low tolerance for alcohol, so no one can really blame him.
Oh, and they know about “sexing,” too. Yep, they know all about that stuff. They’ve watched porn together and seen men and women do things that would turn your stomach. It did theirs.
What they don’t know how to do is kiss. And they need to know about that. You see, Max is really stoked to have been invited to Soren’s “kissing party” this weekend. And there’ll be girls there. And one of those girls will be none other than Brixlee, the girl whom Max plans to marry someday. You know, if he ever gets the nerve up to talk to her.
Figuring out how to kiss good, however, isn’t all that easy. You’d be surprised how little they tend to do that in those sexing videos. The boys tried to practice smooching on a full-sized doll that Thor’s dad keeps hidden away in a back room. (Yeah, why a grown man would have a secret doll kinda baffled the boys, too. Maybe it’s for CPR practice.) Anyway, they were trying to practice kissing on it, but it was sticky in weird places, so they moved on to something else.
Maybe they can spy on Max’s teenage next-door neighbor. She’s always hugging and hanging on her weird boyfriend. It’s called being a nymphomaniac. And Max is pretty sure those kinda girls know all about kissing.
So don’t you worry, the Bean Bag Boys are gonna make this party work for Max. After all, future of his marriage depends on it.
There’s not a whole lot to praise in this pic other than the fact that in spite of all the many things these boys don’t really understand, they do get the concept of friendship. And even as they grow apart, those relational ties remain important to them.
The three boys lie, break the rules and get into trouble. But you can see that at their core they’ve all been raised with a sense of right and wrong that constantly tugs at them. Lucas, in particular, has a very difficult time doing the wrong thing and lying about it. And he often nervously bursts out with the truth, much to the chagrin of his buds.
In fact, Lucas can’t keep from eventually spilling the beans to his parents about his and his friends’ crazy and potentially deadly day. But Lucas’ parents are getting a divorce, and they think he’s simply telling a tall tale for attention. Still, that conversation does prompt them to express their love to Lucas and talk about how tough, and necessary, it is to make good decisions in life.
Max, Lucas and Thor all think they know quite a bit about sex. And the movie’s central running joke is hearing these 12-year-olds talk crudely about various sexual activities (using a long lexicon of coarse and sometimes mispronounced terms), listing acts and body parts they’ve heard about or seen in porn videos. The boys talk about their own genitals and some sexual reactions they’ve experienced. In one scene they describe what they’re watching in a porn video (though the laptop screen is kept from our view).
One thing we do see is Max creating a video game character with very large breasts and then moving to touch himself while looking at the computer screen. His dad interrupts him and then, assessing the situation, talks to him about masturbation.
Max also practices kissing using an adult sex doll and gets grossed out when he gets human hair and other left-behind residue in his mouth. Later, the boys sell this sex doll to an adult in order to get some badly needed cash. The guy picks up the life-sized figure, exposing its ample breasts. This guy’s car crashes later on and the nearly naked doll smashes out through the car’s windshield and lands on the road.
Along with Thor’s dad’s doll, the kids find an array of sex toys that they don’t quite understand. And the film watches closely and giggles at the boys as they sniff, touch, fondle and improperly use the various erotic paraphernalia in the mix. The three boys also climb up into a sex swing suspended from a bedroom ceiling. They bounce and play innocently until Thor’s little sister tells them what it’s really used for.
Several tweens share long lingering kisses. A pair of teen girls wears cleavage-baring tops. It’s implied that two tween girls may be gay. The Bean Bag Boys think about throwing some of the stimulant drug Molly away in the woods but worry about the sexual frenzy of the animal inhabitants there.
In the course of their day, the boys have to get their hands on large sums of money and buy drugs. And that involves fleeing from a pursuing vehicle on the bikes … right through a crowd of people. They also run on foot through speeding traffic across a six lane freeway, barely avoiding being killed and causing a multicar pileup in the process.
Lucas hits a park bench and flips over the handleblars of his speeding bicycle, slamming into the side of a bus and dislocating his shoulder. The other two boys then forcibly attempt to jam the oddly hanging arm back into joint while Lucas screams with the pain. All three boys end up in a brawl with college-age guys. They get shoved about, and Thor is punched in the face. But they make it out by shooting the older and somewhat inebriated young men with a paint gun (shots to the face and, of course, the crotch) and hitting them with planks of wood.
Max and Thor get into their own shoving and slapping fight elsewhere. An errant drone tears a living room to shreds.
It should be noted right off, that nearly all of the foul and profane language spewed in this film is done so by kids under the age of 13. And in a very real sense, that exponentially increases the wince-worthiness of the entire movie.
We hear more than 50 f-words and nearly 20 s-words. They’re joined by a handful of exclamations each of “h–,” “a–hole” and “b–ch.” There are numerous crude references made to male and female genitalia (generally for laughs). And God and Jesus’ names are both profaned repeatedly (with God’s name being combined with “d–n” two or three times).
Max’s next door neighbor, Hannah, gets some Molly (a slightly different form of the drug Ecstasy) from her boyfriend. She and her best friend talk of all the bliss they’ll feel when taking it. Later we see the two teen girls very high on the stuff.
Part of the action of the film involves the Bean Bag Boys stealing Hannah’s Molly and then figuring out how to procure more. They go into a frat house full of guys drinking beer and potentially stoned as well. Eventually, a college kid sells the tweens the Molly they want.
Thor is part of a stage play, and he portrays a character who snorts cocaine and passes out. The teacher, joyfully stage managing the production, actually does snort coke in the stage wings. Thor’s little sis speaks of her knowledge of cocaine and what people do with it.
A number of boys drink sips of beer. Thor works up to four sips and declares that he’s a “f—ing alcoholic!”
The boys lie and steal. They skip school. And they put themselves in dangerous situations. Lucas vomits when he thinks he’s caused someone’s death. (He hasn’t.) It’s all played for laughs.
Good Boys is a raunchy comedy starring tween leads far too young to even watch their own R-rated film. And that jarring comedic setup, of course, is the supposed draw here: watching clueless kids dabble mindlessly in very adult things.
In truth, the three boys in this pic are really the only thing it has going for it. They’re likeable and still young enough to believably convey a hint of wide-eyed innocence and sincerity in their onscreen friendships. But those fleeting, feel-good moments are mostly buried in this movie’s 95 minutes of formulaic gross-out gags and lewd giggles.
“Life is a rotten apple of drugs, sex toys and porn,” this film tells viewers. “Isn’t it fun to laugh at kids as they take their inevitable first bites?”
If we think about what we’re watching for a moment, though, engaging our brains long enough to honestly chew over what this movie is promoting , we might just pause a bit in our conviviality. This isn’t just another cinematic upchuck of potty-mouthed gags and one-note raunch. We’re essentially being asked to chortle and guffaw over the corruption of three innocent kids.
And no matter where you’re coming from, that’s nothing to laugh about.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.