Role Models

I believe I've said this in a prior comedy review, but you know those times when you go and see a movie in theater and find it hilarious, but then you buy it and watch it at home, and it's not even remotely as funny as you remember? And then you realize that the only reason you were laughing the first time was because of the crowd experience (i.e. THEY were laughing, so you were laughing, too). But all alone, you don't laugh nearly as much. Well, that happens to me quite often. And I have to say that this movie... is not one of those movies. I laughed so much during this film, the majority of which was on my own accord (and a lot of which I know why, so I can get into that later in the review).

Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are two guys who just float through life selling a disgusting energy drink to high school kids as part of a drug-free program. But after a really bad day that escalates to Danny getting broken up with by his long-term girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) and climaxes with a police assault and sexual innuendo-related car wreck, both Danny and Wheeler are given community service so that they can stay out of jail. The program, led by ex-druggie Gayle Sweeny (Jane Lynch), pairs adults ("Bigs") with kids ("Littles") in a buddy program. But the pairs made here, while at first seem terrible, turn out to be perfect. The negative Danny is teamed up with Amptgard-loving Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), while the ladies man Wheeler is teamed up with foul-mouthed Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson). So now all they have to do is survive together long enough to get through the service hours... but wouldn't you know it, relationships form.

     I won't deny it: the plot is formulaic. You know pretty much how everything is going to turn out early on. But that didn't stop me from loving it. Sure, it started out a little slow, and the best joke prior to meeting the kids is shown in the trailer ("Congratulations, you're stupid in three languages"), but once it gets to the gimmick, it really doesn't pull back.

     Unfortunately, Seann William Scott didn't get to use his full arsenal in this movie and was really just a tag-along to the plot (hell, technically, he really didn't do anything to get in trouble in the first place). The majority of the plot rested on Paul Rudd and Mintz-Plasse, which was fine, because that was the most interesting relationship in the movie anyway. Though that doesn't mean Scott and Thompson weren't good. In fact, Thompson had most of the funny one-liners of the film. But what I found funniest were the nerd jokes, mostly because I knew everything they were talking about. (Time to show true colors): back in high school, I actually knew people who played Amptgard and even played with them a couple times. It really is a ton of fun, though we never got as into character as they do in the movie. But anyway, the point is, I understood all the jokes on a more personal level.

     But then there are the supporting cast members, such as Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong, Joe Lo Truglio, and Matt Walsh. To start with the negative, I found Jane Lynch to be one of the biggest downfalls of the film. She was funny the first couple times, but after that, it started to get old. It was the same jokes over and over again, and it started to get more tiring than funny. But then you have the likes of Ken Jeong, who you might recognize as the delivery doctor from Knocked Up (and he's a real doctor, too, I believe), whose outtakes on the DVD were almost ten-times funnier than the movie itself. And he's not wasted in this film, either, as the King (the ultimate villain in the Mintz-Plasse part of the story). Between his facial expressions and his slight hints of homosexuality, he was hilarious. And I pray that he has more outtakes on the Role Models DVD, too. And then, of course, you have the Amptgard loyalists, Joe Lo Truglio and Matt Walsh, whose dedication to the sport makes them great (especially Truglio).

     Overall, I really loved the film. I know this review focused more on Rudd/Mintz-Plasse, but I honestly felt they were the best part. Scott and Thompson did have equal screen time, and they did have hilarious scenes (just so I can get that out there), but the plot was seemingly more dedicated to the former than the latter—again, at least in my opinion. I would really recommend this film, whether or not it's predictable. Let me put it this way: I probably only once stopped to think about reviewing the movie while I was watching it (which is very rare these days) because I was so taken in by it. It's one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while.

Reviewed by: Nick