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Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott star in Role Models as Danny and Wheeler, two salesmen who trash a company truck on an energy drink-fueled bender. Upon their arrest, the court gives them a choice: do hard time or spend 150 hours with a mentorship program. After one day with the kids, however, jail doesn't look half bad. Once the center's ex-con director (Jane Lynch) gives them an ultimatum, Danny and Wheeler are forced to tailor their brand of immature wisdom to their charges, Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson). And if they can just make it through probation without getting thrown in jail, the world's worst role models will prove that, sometimes, it takes a village idiot to raise a child.
Paul Rudd co-wrote and stars in Role Models, the first film he's probably made without Judd Apatow being attached to the project! I wonder if he gets punished for going out on his own. I thought the Apatow gang need to stay together.
This is a film that takes awhile to get going as they must spend 20 minutes or so to set up the plot and conflicts. The problem during that time is that nothing is really all that funny or exciting. There must be another way because there really is a lot of good stuff in this film. They don't always need to tell a comedy in such a linear way. If you start the film right at the peak of the comedy, then the audience is involved right away and we enjoy the characters that much more. After all, we know what's going to happen anyway, so what's the point to show it?
You have your almost middle-aged guy, Danny (Paul Rudd) who feels he's wasted his life and then his second banana, Wheeler (Seann William Scott) who is fun loving, handsome and likes sex. Two roles that really would be considered a cliche as these are types of characters we've seen a lot in the past decade in comedies.
They get into trouble and get sentenced to community service so they now have to serve as Big Brother's for kids who need fatherly role models. The problem is that these guys aren't much roles models (in fact, they probably need their own Big Brother's) and then the comedy and conflict begins.
There are many tender moments in Role Models and the two kids, the nerdish Dungeons and Dragon's fan Augie and the young tough but sensitive black kid Ronnie, are really terrific and steal the movie. They are misfits in their current world and all they are looking for is some sort of feeling from another so they don't feel lonely. They need mentors who believe in them. But Ronnie and Wheeler first need to believe in themselves in order to evoke the energy and positivity these kids need.
So in many ways Role Models is a great setup for a comedy. They take things to another level by making it an R rated movie, but they didn't use that rating to their advantage.
When you're making a movie and you know it's going to be rated R, then you know you're going to miss out on a large portion of the people who go to the movies. So if you're going to do it, then you might as well go as far as you can. But all Role Models does is give us lots of swear word language (perhaps a little too much of it), plus showings of some breasts. That's it. It doesn't seem to have been a great investment. If they just limited the language and got rid of the breasts, then they could of reached a larger audience. I guess the theme of Role Models is that in order to grow up and be a man you must learn from kids first. Plus, you are now a role model, so you have to be accountable for your actions.
Other than that, the laughs are fewer than they should be in a Hollywood comedy. I wished there was a whole lot more to this film because there are a lot of good moments in it.
Actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who plays Augie, really steals this movie. Last scene in the comedy hit Superbad, Mintz-Plasse is a young actor who really carries the big-screen. This kid understands comedic acting too. Very rare for a young actor.
2 stars out of 4!