David Wain’s latest is a vast improvement from the hit or miss The Ten, but also doesn’t come close to the awesome amazingness of Wet Hot American Summer; though remains a solid comedy entry in its own right.
Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are co-workers who go around everyday giving presentations to students about staying off drugs, and to drink their Minotaur energy drink instead. Danny is down and out in his life, becoming a miserable dick to the world around him, while Wheeler spends his time chasing tale and enjoying every minute he works in the minotaur costume he dawns. Well one day Danny loses it as his life falls apart, and upon an impending towing of the Minotaur Mobile, his actions to halt it get himself and Wheeler a 150 hours of community service in 30 days to be served at the Sturdy Wings big brother program. The two are assigned their little’s from the head of Sturdy Wings, Gayle Sweeny (Jane Lynch) who herself has a sketchy past, Danny is paired up with Augie a live action role playing super nerd, and Wheeler with Ronnie a foul mouthed 10 year old black kid that has never had a Big last longer then a day with him. The four get off to a sticky start, but slowly bond over time as they learn a lot about each other and themselves.
The plot for Role Models follows the token comedy formula, and seems blatantly unoriginal especially coming from the mind of David Wain, but the movie is very funny though. Anchored by the always great Paul Rudd, the movie remains consistently funny throughout and outside a couple of hit or miss gags throughout the picture, i.e. a Ronnie’s foul mouth, the film stays funny and rouses to a great third act. And the film really stands out in the end when it really tries to be different, which also happens to be a major theme of the movie, it just sucks thinking how fun and exciting this film could have been if it had been as original throughout.
Paul Rudd is great in this film and has great line after line throughout the picture. He also does a great job at selling us on the ‘I’m sick of my life’ side of Danny while also keeping him likeable and never insufferable to watch. Seann William Scott’s Wheeler is also pretty funny through out, though a couple jokes do fall flat from time to time, but he makes up for it with some of the best laughs in the film to counteract that. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is great at nailing the mega geek without being a stereotype and also showing a lot of heart in pride in who he is; and it is nice to see him not just recycle McLovin. Bobb’e J. Thompson’s parents must be pretty open to let their son come out and say some of the stuff he says her, and act like a little monster for the camera. But Bobb’e does a great job at nailing the anger and angst that comes along with his character and he and Seann William Scott nail some pretty great chemistry. The rest of the cast is sprinkled with some solid supporting turns as well, Elizabeth Banks is cute and makes us wishing for more, Jane Lynch remains mostly funny throughout with her crazy eyed bullshit sensing abilities, and Ken Jeong plays up his role to great effect as the King of the L.A.I.R.E. roll playing game.
In the end, Role Models is a solid comedy that could have been a tad less formulaic. The ending is great, and even though it might be a little to nice, what were you expecting? Paul Rudd and company are all constantly funny and the film will make you laugh from start to finish, and while not one of the top tier comedies of the year, you should definitely check it out if interested as I am sure you will find some enjoyment out of Wain’s latest feature.
P.S. Go rent Wet Hot American Summer!