In a time when foul-mouthed cinematic comedy is at a high point and crossing the line is considered an achievement, Role Models is raunchy comedy done right. Offensive and touching, rude and meaningful, Role Models is uneven yet gratifying and deep down has a big heart.
After an accident with their company’s energy drink vehicle, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are sentenced to choose between fifteen years in jail or 150 hours of community service. Taking the only logical choice there is, the two must straighten out their act and are forced to volunteer at the Sturdy Wings youth center to mentor a couple of troubled kids. During their time spent at Sturdy Wings, Danny and Wheeler do their best to manage their two “littles” and soon begin to realize these kids are merely misunderstood.
Nominated for a 2008 Critics Choice Award for best comedy, Role Models is a film praised for its raunchy charm and clever jokes. To my surprise, it exceeds expectations by being dead funny and irreverently smart.
Role Models is an occasionally crude, mildly offensive, and always entertaining romp with another deadpan performance from Jane Lynch (The 40 Year Old Virgin) who knocks it out of the park. The young cast includes Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the teen with an overactive imagination and Bobb’e J. Thompson as the unmanageable fifth grader with a gutter mouth. While Mintz-Plasse is all-around fantastic, Thompson can quickly become irritating.
Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott execute a number of hilarious one-liners with precision timing. It scores not only a few good laughs, but also a handful of meaningful messages while fulfilling the desire for lewdness. This makes Role Models an enjoyable R-rated comedy with a family-friendly message — something wholly original in this genre of comedy. This Apatow-esque comedy team manages to cram a load of tender lessons into a package of filth without ever swamping the importance of those lessons.
Ably directed by David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten) and intelligently scripted by Paul Rudd, David Wain, Ken Marino, and Timothy Dowling, Role Models‘ ending may be a bit soggy and tame, but everything beforehand is outrageous fun.
The bonus features are jammed with nearly 25 minutes of deleted and alternate takes and bloopers. “On The Set of Role Models” gives you an inside look at the making of the film. “Game On: Creating A Role Playing World” shows the importance of costumes, fight choreography, and many behind-the-scenes bits and extras. “In-Character and Off-Script” is where you learn about some of the improvisational actors, and there’s an audio commentary track with director/co-writer David Wain.
Included on the DVD released by Universal Studios are both rated and unrated versions of the film. The unrated version contains three more minutes of additional jokes and extended scenes that were unseen by the MPAA. Although this footage wasn’t examined by the MPAA, it never exceeds being a hard R.
Also, if you’re interested, there is an interactive online game, Babe Watcher, found at the film’s official website in which you can help Wheeler, Danny, Augie, and Ronnie spot babes to hang out with, but be careful who you check out: if it’s your buddy, you lose a life! 4/5 stars