This movie had me worried when it was touted as “From the makers of Sausage Party.” I wasn’t even really planning on seeing this, until I started to hear rumblings that it might actually be good (unlike Sausage Party). So, I took a risk and went to check it out.
We follow three 6th graders, as they prepare for their first ‘kissing party.’ The first of the three boys is Max (Jacob Tremblay), who has a crush on this girl named Brixlee (Millie Davis) and he must attend this party so that she doesn’t kiss somebody else. He uses his dad’s drone to spy on the neighbors, hoping to catch a glimpse of kissing, to see how it’s done. Well, things go sideways and the boys are now set on an adventure that will either end with kissing or with all of them being grounded. The second boy is Lucas (Keith L. Williams), who discovers his parents (Retta and Lil Ren) are getting divorced, though he can’t work up the courage to tell his friends that. Lastly, we have Thor (Brady Noon), who has the voice of an angel but gives up his passion when he’s made fun of by the cool kids in school, so he’s on a journey to prove himself to them.
We also have two high schoolers (Molly Gordon and Midori Francis) who are planning a crazy weekend when the boys accidentally steal their drugs, so these girls are trying to track down our leads for the movie’s length.
I have to say, this movie surprised me in a lot of ways.
First off, while it’s rated R and touted as a perverse and obscene raunchy comedy, it’s actually fairly tame yet still managed to get some big belly laughs from me. It didn’t need to resort to truly gross content, which feels like a lowest common denominator approach. This was jam packed with comedy that worked, yet did push the limits for what we’re used to seeing with child actors.
I think this movie ultimately works so well because it has a heart and innocence to it. These kids aren’t raunchy intentionally, they’re stumbling through scenarios that they know nothing about. They don’t know the verbiage or the lingo, they don’t understand how things work, so it’s cute and innocent, even when approaching the vulgar. This heart really comes from our three leads, who all absolutely work. It’s no doubt that Jacob Tremblay (Room, Wonder) would deliver, but these other two relative unknowns do a fantastic job as well. They’re all likable and interesting and downright hilarious.
While this movie has plenty of f-bombs and shocking moments, it also has some great emotional moments. I teared up in the finale, as this movie really is about kids and growing up, either growing together or growing apart. The way that these kids learn this is actually poignant and relatable, as I know I had many grade school friends that eventually you grow apart from, as you take on your own hobbies and interests. I was surprised that this movie had any sort of higher message at all, nonetheless one that I’d connect with so much.
What doesn’t work?
While it isn’t as crude as I expected, it may still be a bit much for you if you can’t handle (or don’t want to see) sixth-graders saying every profane word or phrase in existence. This is still an R-rated comedy at its core.
And I’ve also read criticism of this film for trying to hit the same beats as movies like Superbad but that movie was almost 15 years ago, so I think it’s fair game to pay some homages to that film. I didn’t have an issue with this movie’s originality.
This is shocking, but I really loved this movie. It had me laughing harder than most comedies in recent years have, and it really struck an emotional nerve with me as well. I teared up, I laughed, this movie really delivered on everything I wanted. It’s not a fantastic film, as it really doesn’t subvert any expectations you might have had, but it will make you laugh and maybe even remind you of your own youth and innocence. The only warning is that, yes, it’s still an R-rated movie that pushes the limits, but if that’s not a concern, this movie should leave you thoroughly entertained.