Written by Paul Rudd & David Wain
& Ken Marino and Timothy Dowling
Directed by David Wain
Running Time: 1:39
for crude and sexual content,
strong language and nudity.
Role Models was a much, much funnier movie than the trailers lead you to believe. Mainly because you can't have a 12 year old curse in trailers.
Danny and Wheeler are couple of losers in their 30s who go from school to school telling kids to keep off of drugs while pushing an energy drink towards them. Danny is in a dead end relationship with his girlfriend Beth and she decides to end it. Danny gets understandably upset and he and Wheeler end up stealing their own truck, running over a copy and destroying school property. Instead of landing in jail, they land at an organization that helps kids. The woman who runs the place, Gayle, is certifiable and a recovering addict for just about anything you can think of. Danny is paired with Augie, a kid who lives in a fantasy world that actually meets and has battles in parks. Wheeler is put with Ronnie, a troubled kid who has had eight mentors in the last few weeks. Needless to say, things don't go well at first but as you might expect, they do get better over time.
Role Models was one of those movies I figured I'd see on DVD. There didn't seem to be much going for it, but it looked like it might have a few funny moments. I was happily surprised then when I saw it and found that it had a lot of funny moments. First off, if you're a fan of Paul Rudd and his brand of comedy, you'll definitely like this movie. And I thought it was a brilliant idea to take what normally would be a PG-13 comedy with some romance and some cute kids (not romance with the cute kids you freak!) and to ratchet it up a notch into an R film. That allows for a lot of swearing and a reasonable amount of nudity. It keeps everyone happy! So while you don't have a film you can take your kids to, it is one that a lot of people will enjoy.
The story line is very standard - a couple of nogoodnicks get 150 hours of community service instead of going to jail for 30 days and have to mentor some kids. A version of this story has probably been done a million times. So in order to make the movie entertaining, you have to add something extra. The combination of Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott was interesting. Based on their past roles they're not people you'd imagine seeing as best friends, but somehow they work. Rudd is at his snarky best and Scott reigned in his normal manic performances and was actually the calmer of the two. Elizabeth Banks plays the girl/ex-girlfriend and she's got a very cute look about her, but her role could have essentially been played by a talking couch. Jane Lynch plays the head of the place the guys end up working and she's very funny. She basically steals the movie every time she's on screen because she's so completely serious and yet totally messed in the head. Early on in the movie when she says the line 'and my mother, out of necessity, was a whore' I nearly lost it. She was so sincere calling her mother a whore it was comedy at its finest.
The real star of the film was Bobb'e J. Thompson as Ronnie. The kid was hysterical - that is, if you find swearing kids hysterical. I know a lot of people are going to just shake their heads and walk out, but to me, that's good comedy. He had one line, which I won't repeat here, that was all of 4 words but it brought the house down. I don't know if the kid will grow up into a good actor but for this kind of role, he was perfect. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (a.k.a. McLovin) plays Augie, the kid that Danny mentors. He's one of those nerdy kids you generally see with the theater crowd. He likes wearing capes and pretending he lives in a fantasy world fighting demons and orcs and the like. Except in his case, this fantasy world exists and there are a lot of people like him. And they have battles. You can tell early on that this was going to play a big role in the last act of the film, but it still worked.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Role Models a lot more than I thought I would. It doesn't break any new ground but there are some truly funny moments and for the most part, it never falls into that trap of getting too serious or story-heavy. While it's definitely funnier early on, the laughs continue right up to the very end.
Netflix DVD Rentals. Only $4.99 a month. NO LATE FEES; Free Shipping. Try for FREE!