|Directed by||Gene Stupnitsky|
|Music by||Lyle Workman|
|Edited by||Daniel Gaby|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$111.2 million|
Good Boys is a 2019 American coming-of-age comedy film directed by Gene Stupnitsky, in his directorial debut, and written by Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. The film stars Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon as three sixth-graders who find themselves involved in a series of misadventures as they try to attend a party hosted by their popular classmates. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg serve as producers through their Point Grey Pictures banner.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on August 14, 2019, by Universal Pictures. It received generally positive reviews from critics and was a box office success, grossing $111 million worldwide on a $20 million budget.
Friends Max, Lucas, and Thor enter sixth grade facing their own personal dilemmas: Max has a crush on classmate Brixlee, Lucas learns his parents are getting divorced, and teasing from his peers discourages Thor from pursuing his love of singing. When presented with the opportunity to kiss Brixlee at a party hosted by popular student Soren, Max and his friends use his father's valued drone to spy on his teenage neighbor Hannah in an attempt to learn proper kissing. The plan goes awry and results in the drone being destroyed and Max, Lucas, and Thor in possession of Hannah's ecstasy. To avoid getting grounded, the three boys skip school to buy a new drone at the local mall, with Hannah and her friend Lily in pursuit.
Amid a series of escapades, Max, Lucas, and Thor reach the mall, but learn that Hannah and Lily bought the drone and will only give it to the boys in exchange for their ecstasy. Having surrendered the drugs to a police officer, the boys manage to obtain new ecstasy from Hannah's ex-boyfriend Benji and trade it for the drone. Nevertheless, Max is unable to prevent his father from finding out that he used the drone and is grounded. An argument ensues between the friends and the three go their separate ways, although Max takes the blame for what transpired to prevent Lucas and Thor from getting in trouble. When Lucas speaks to his parents about the potential end of his friendships, they advise him that he, Max, and Thor are growing apart.
That night, Lucas convinces Max to sneak out to attend the party, tricking Max and Thor into meeting up again in the process. Max successfully kisses Brixlee while Lucas and Thor re-encounter Hannah and Lily, the latter revealed as Soren's sister, who encourage Thor to continue his passion for singing. In the ensuing weeks, Thor lands the role of Stacee Jaxx in the school's amateur production of Rock of Ages, Lucas joins the anti-bullying group at the school, and after his relationships with Brixlee and then her friend Taylor end in heartbreak, Max begins dating his classmate Scout. Following a performance of the school musical, Max, Lucas, and Thor reconcile and promise to remain in each other's lives.
- Jacob Tremblay as Max
- Keith L. Williams as Lucas
- Brady Noon as Thor
- Molly Gordon as Hannah
- Midori Francis as Lily
- Izaac Wang as Soren
- Millie Davis as Brixlee
- Josh Caras as Benji
- Will Forte as Max's dad
- Lil Rel Howery as Lucas' dad
- Retta as Lucas' mom
- Michaela Watkins as the saleswoman
- Sam Richardson as Officer Sacks
- Macie Juiles as Taylor
- Zoriah Wong as Scout
Additionally, co-writer and co-producer Lee Eisenberg appears as a character named Leigh Eisenberg. Max's mother is portrayed by Mariessa Portelance, while Enid-Raye Adams plays Thor's mother and Benita Ha plays Lily and Soren's mother. Lina Renna portrays Thor's sister Annabelle. The boys' classmates Marcus and Atticus are played by Christian Darrel Scott and Chance Hurtsfield, respectively, and Alexander Calvert plays fraternity brother Daniel. Stephen Merchant makes an uncredited appearance as Claude, the man who purchases a sex doll from the boys.
On August 16, 2017, it was announced that Seth Rogen's Point Grey Pictures and Good Universe would produce a comedy film together from writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who would both also make their directorial debut. The film was produced by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Nathan Kahane, and Joe Drake. In March 2018, Jacob Tremblay was cast in the film, titled Good Boys, to which Universal Pictures bought the distribution rights.
Jonathan Furmanski, who had worked in Search Party, Inside Amy Schumer, and The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, was enlisted as the film's cinematographer. He took inspiration from Stand By Me, The Goonies, and ET, aiming to have "one foot in 2019 and the other in 1986 (Stand By Me's release date)." He arrived at Vancouver a month before principal photography, allowing him to discuss more about the style of the film. The "universal agreement" is that Good Boys shouldn't look like a "typical" pre-teen comedy, that it should feel "bigger and more open" despite its tight premise.
Furmanski filmed Good Boys with an Arri Alexa Master with Master-type anamorphic lenses, alongside an Arri Alexa SXT and a mini camera. Anamorphic lenses and a wide aspect ratio was utilized to achieve the wide scope of the film; a Master-type lens was chosen due to its "great contrast and color rendition, lovely depth and separation, and clean and sharp across the frame." To not make the set overheated and claustrophobic, lightings were kept out of the room, or rigged overhead. Furmanski also noted that most shots had visual effects embedded. According to Tremblay, the scene where the boys were paintball-fighting with several grown-ups was shot in one take.
The "biggest" and most challenging scene Furmanski shot was the scene of the boys running across the highway, utilizing multiple units and taking over five days to achieve: three days of filming and two days of stunt and visual effects. It was shot at a makeshift 300-foot highway on an unused airport runway; the crew were unable to film at a real highway due to active traffic. He credited first assistant director (AD) Dan Miller and key grip Marc Nolet for achieving the scene. According to Furmanski, Nolet "drilled small washers into the tarmac for every camera position and we took copious notes so we could go back if necessary, or second unit could come in and replicate something."
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2019. Good Boys was theatrically released on August 14, 2019 by Universal Pictures, and became generally available on December 13, 2019.
Good Boys grossed $83.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $27.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $110.6 million. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $39 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
In the United States and Canada, Good Boys was projected to gross $12–15 million from 3,204 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $8.3 million on its first day, including $2.1 million from Thursday night previews. It overperformed and went on to debut to $21 million, becoming the first R-rated comedy since The Boss (April 2016) to finish first at the box office. The film made $11.6 million in its second weekend and $9.5 million in its third, finishing second behind Angel Has Fallen both times.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 80% based on 243 reviews with an average rating of 6.50/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Good Boys is undermined by an eagerness to repeatedly indulge in profane humor, but its appealing cast and ultimately thoughtful message often shine through." Metacritic collected 44 reviews and assessed 27 as positive, 14 as mixed, and 3 as negative; it gave the film a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare grade of "A+" on an F to A+ scale, one of fewer than 90 films in the history of the service to receive the grade, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 98% and a 90% "definite recommend".
Critic Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a rating of three stars out of four, who commented that "for all its wacky, gross-out, shock-ya humor, Good Boys has a lot of heart." Two National Review writers share slightly opposing views. Kyle Smith opined it as "engaging" on its mish-mash of innocence and naughtiness, calling the film a good depiction of juvenile delinquency, however noted its predictability and nonsensical humor, calling it "so thin on plot that, even at 90 minutes, things feel a bit stretched." Meanwhile, Armond White said that the film has a "rush-to-perdition premise", marking it a "step down from Freaks and Geeks and Superbad". He looked on the main characters as "the worst example of media brats", and that the crew's ambition to make it as profane as possible makes it for a hypocritical and "smut-peddling" work. It called the scene of Thor performing Rock of Ages "the single most mawkish and dishonest movie ending so far this year."
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