Review by Jack Foley
YOU could bemoan the fact that kids swear repeatedly in Role Models… or you could roll with it and have immense fun in the process.
David Wain’s film is a proper guilty pleasure… an adult comedy that makes up for in belly laughs what it lacks in subtlety and which boasts plenty of appeal to the Superbad/Judd Apatow crowd.
Paul Rudd (who co-wrote the screenplay) and Seann William Scott play Danny and Wheeler, two mis-matched pitch-men for a drinks company who must choose between prison time or volunteering to help mentor misfit children following a caffeine-fuelled freak out at one of the high schools they were visiting.
Opting for the latter, they’re forced to look after Ronnie (Bobb’e J Thompson), a potty-mouthed 10-year-old with a fascination for women’s breasts, and Augie Farks (Superbad‘s Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a super-nerd who loves Live-Action Roleplay (LARP), while remaining careful to stay in the good books of the project’s supervisor (Jane Lynch).
Danny is also determined to win back his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), the woman who caused his freak out in the first place.
Role Models may adhere to typical buddy-movie convention but it stands out because of the obvious camaraderie that exists between Rudd and Scott, as well as the hilarious contributions of its younger co-stars.
Rudd is typically great as the emotionless Danny, whose deadpan put-downs and witty sarcasm offer plenty of early highlights, while Scott is his usual brash self… although frequently at a loss for how to deal with his foul-mouthed minor.
Mintz-Plasse, meanwhile, proves that his winning turn as McLovin in Superbad was no fluke, and Thompson is a comic revelation… mixing the fruitier elements of his character with some genuine vulnerability late on.
And while the humour itself is mostly of the low-brow variety, it’s done in such a fashion so as not to appear too offensive or derivative of better comedies (a camping trip offers one of several big highlights).
Role Models does eventually succumb to sentimentality and a predictable happy ending, but Wain still manages to mix in plenty of laughs so that you won’t feel too manipulated. Above all else, he ensures the feel-good factor remains sky high.
You’ll enjoy being offended, while rooting for the characters to find their various forms of redemption.
Running time: 99mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: May 11, 2009