Role Models


Seann William Scott as Wheeler
Paul Rudd as Danny Donahue
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Augie Farks
Bobb’e J Thompson as Ronnie Sheilds
Elizabeth Banks as Beth
Jane Lynch as Gayle Sweeney
Ken Jeong as King Argotron
Ken Marino as Jim Stansel
Kerri Kenney as Lynette
AD Miles as Martin Gary
Joe Lo Truglio as Kuzzik
Matt Walsh as Davith of Glencracken
Nicole Randall Johnson as Karen
Alexandria Stamler as Esplen
Carly Craig as Connie

Co-written by Rudd and directed by ‘The State’ veteran David Wain, “Role Models” carries the torch of the recent run of Judd Apatow-produced comedies mixing ordinary/extraordinary scenarios with plenty of blue humor and a touch of slapstick. A spot-on cast with sharp comedic timing makes “Role Models” a solid romp.

Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) work for Minotaur – an energy drink company with a message to kids to stay off drugs and drink their green elixir instead. The team’s job is to travel around to area schools – Wheeler as the mascot and Danny as the spokesman – and deliver that message to the source. After an exceedingly bad day for Danny, the pair ends up in police custody with their fate in the hands of Danny’s freshly ex-girlfriend and lawyer Beth (Banks). In a plea deal, the duo avoids jail time by agreeing to 150 hours of community service at a non-profit called Sturdy Wings – a Boys and Girls Club-type outfit. It’s there they are paired up with Augie (Mintz-Plasse), a nerdly teen immersed in the world of LARPing (Live-Action Role Play), and Ronnie, a foul-mouth grade schooler who loves boobies.

“Role Models” is rated R for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity.

What Worked:
It is the cast of “Role Models” that makes it fun to watch. Rudd is quickly becoming the king of cynicism and overall ‘prickery’ for this genre of comedy. For proof, enjoy the scene in the coffee shop with Beth or his exchanges with Sturdy Wings founder Sweeney.
Scott is in ‘adult Stifler-mode’ here. He’s a caring, genuinely nice guy that is all about rock-and-roll and the ladies. His adoration for the rock band Kiss also plays a key role in the film’s climax.

The kids – Mintz-Plasse and Thompson – are spot on. I personally didn’t think we’d see McLovin again, but here he is in all of his dorky goodness. Unlike McLovin, Farks knows he’s not cool and doesn’t try to fake it. He does make for good comedy though, especially when interacting with Rudd.

Thompson is the find of the film – a young, cute kid with a mouth like a sailor with Tourette’s… and what is funnier than an eight-year-old cussing? Beyond the mouth, Thompson shows great timing for a young actor… something a lot of Hollywood’s youth sorely lack.

The other stand outs include Jane Lynch as the reformed whore, junkie, alcoholic that runs Sturdy Wings. She is fantastic as always, and has some of the best lines in the movie. I know I’ll never look at a pretzel dog the same way again! AD Miles as long-time Sturdy Wings volunteer and goody-good Martin Gary also gets laughs just about every time he is on screen. It was also nice to see a handful of ‘The State’ and ‘Stella’ alums scattered throughout the movie.

While the script is full of good gags, and some lesser jokes, it is the cast that really brings the film to life and deserves all the credit for what works.

What Didn’t Work:
I only had two small issues with “Role Models” – the screen time given to LARP and the pat Hollywood happy ending. I expected LARPing (or LAIRE as it is in the movie) to play a role in the film seeing that Mintz-Plasse’s character was hung up on it, but I did not expect it to dominate the second half of the film. The laughs died down a bit here in preparation for the second issue – the sappy ended. Now I didn’t necessarily want it to end on a downer, but you knew too soon that everything was going to work out. These are minor gripes that shouldn’t prevent you from checking out the film.

So go see “Role Models.” It’s got something for everyone. The dudes will enjoy the cussing kid, Kiss music, geeks failing on each other with foam swords and no fewer than two sets of bare naked breasts. The gals get a warm-and-fuzzy Hollywood ending and a glimpse at Scott’s uncovered posterior.