Good Boys premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival Monday night to an uproarious crowd reaction that suggested Superbad producer Seth Rogen might have another coming-of-age hit on his hands.
Directed by Gene Stupnitsky, the R-rated film follows of trio of likable sixth graders (Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams) on a series of misadventures while on a quest to go to their first “kissing party” (the trailer is above, but we suggest you don’t watch it — it gives away many of the film’s biggest laughs out of context). The producers told the audience “the goal was a live-action South Park” along with other inspirations like Superbad, Stand by Me, The Hangover, and Stranger Things.
“Just learning to swear is a fun thing to chronicle and if you hang around these little animals for two seconds it’s just appalling,” Rogen said.
Yet much of the film’s charm is the title isn’t entirely meant to be ironic. The trio of kids are fundamentally “good boys,” and a lot of the humor comes from their naïveté about the grown-up world around them. A scene about the kids’ insistence about asking girls for consent before kissing garnered outright applause from the audience. “We didn’t want mean humor,” Stupnitsky said. “It’s sweet and not at the expense … it punches up not punches down.”
The film is being marketed as a movie that its stars are not old enough to watch, and after the screening a fan asked Tremblay (Room) his reaction: “To be honest I am shocked and appalled,” he joked. “I was told this would be a PG movie. They lied and I am so mad.”
The producers were also asked how much the kids were informed about the rather adult situations they found themselves in (such as the sex toy props in the trailer). “There was very little context [given] … there was a lot of, ‘Why don’t you ask your mom?’” producer Lee Eisenberg explained.
Here are some of the reactions so far: