Directed by: Gene Stupnitsky
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon
Runtime: 100 minutes
We get back into the comedy genre this week. The last comedy I reviewed was Longshot. It was more of a romantic-comedic but a comedy, nonetheless. Side note if you never got to watch Longshot, check it out. It’s out on video and on-demand. I went in this week having a vague idea of the premise. It’s about three kids trying to kiss girls. The twist is, this is an R-rated film and the rating is warranted. Ironically this film is produced by Seth Rogan who starred in Longshot. His production team also produced Superbad and the similarities are sprinkled throughout. Leave the kids at home for this one and be prepared to laugh. And laugh a lot.
Onto the film.
We open on Max (Tremblay) in his room. We get a scan of his room and see typical posters and gadgets for kids around his age. The trio we will meet are in the 6th grade. He has a nice heart-to-heart with his dad about girls and it makes for an hilarious opening. From the start the audience was laughing and it went on throughout the film.
We meet the “Bean Bag Gang.” Along with Max, there is Thor (Noon) and Lucas (Williams) who have been friends their entire lives. They are off to the skatepark (soon our kids will be able to do the same in Portsmouth) and run into the “big-bads” of this film the “Scooter Squad.” The clichés are there for the kids and maybe this is how things truly are today. Our “heroes” all play “nerdy” games and don’t sit at the popular table. The Scooter Squad all wear aviators, have slicked back hair, and apparently have drank the most sips of beer. This is where we come into the three dilemmas the Bean Bag Gang faces and the driving force behind the adventure to come.
Max has a crush on a girl named Brixlee and is desperate to kiss her. Of course, everything at that age seems like the most important part of your life so this is his quest. Lucas finds out his parents are getting a divorce after they feed him his favorite meal and orange soda. Lastly, there is Thor he is called “sippie-cup” because he won’t take a sip of beer. He is also embarrassed of his love for singing and won’t try out for the musical.
These issues all run throughout the film as it weighs on each character. The driving force behind what happens next is Max’s story though. Stick with me here. Max takes his father’s (A nice cameo by Will Forte) drone and use it to spy on the next-door neighbors to see them kiss their boyfriends. The drone gets taken and they take Hannah’s (next door neighbor) purse. She was going to a concert with her best friend and had “party supplies” in it. The story hinges on the three young boys skipping school and trying to get more things for the girls in order to get the drone back.
This is where the film takes off. Each character plays well off the other and as I stated earlier it mimics Superbad but in a good way. At first, I caught myself, and the audience a little off guard to hear these kids saying the things they were or doing the things they were doing. Honestly though, the film works. Once the film really takes off the laughs are non-stop. There are tongue-in-cheek jokes as well as slapstick humor. There’s a scene where the kids try to cross 2 major highways to get to the mall. The anticipation as they play a real-life version of Frogger is there and I’ll be honest. Things don’t work out.
I only had a few small complaints towards the end. Like I said, the cast was great. Max (Tremblay) was the strongest but Thor (Noon) had to be my favorite. The film brought back memories of childhood and I’m sure most of us went through stages of crushing on girls or being nervous for our first kiss. I liked the nostalgia this film brought about and that helped with the rating I’m giving it. My complaints came towards the end. You could see half-way through the way things were going to go. Not terrible but I was hoping for a few twists at the end. The film also came off a tad cheesy with the sentimental messages it tells the audience. I understand after all the crude humor they wanted to clean it up a bit, but it felt forced. Overall, a funny film. If you like comedies in the vein of Seth Rogan’s films, and especially Superbad go check it out. Like I said, I know it’s about sixth graders, but let them skip this one. Perfect date night. 3 ½ stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development.He can be reached at email@example.com or 740-981-9158