Somewhat attractive stars and a shockingly profane child do not make a good movie. Now, if I just made you want to watch Role Models, then have at it, as you’ll probably enjoy it. On the other hand, if you are in agreement with that first sentence, then you will probably not want to waste your time with the film, and instead should go watch a better comedy. Preferably one that is actually funny.
Role Models is probably one of those movies that is very dividing with any potential audience it has. On one hand, it has shocking situations, strong language, often uttered by a child, and breasts. For some people, this will make them want to watch the movie more, but for others, it will turn them off, revolting them, especially when the situations aren’t funny, the characters are meaningless and there is nothing that is fun about watching it.
That’s not completely true. There are a couple of humorous points in the film, and the conclusion does have some tension and reward to it. The climax of the film takes place during a LARP (Live-Action Role Playing, for those unaware) battle royale, where one of the characters, an introverted nerd must overcome his adversary, the king, in a make-believe sword battle for the crown and–
Nah, I’m joking, it’s just really, really silly. Which is too bad, because Christopher Mintz-Plasse definitely knows how to play a nerdy character well, and the finale could have meant a lot more than it inevitably ended up being. I mean, if I was given reason to care about him, or any of the other characters within the film, then maybe this “epic battle of the ages” might have been entertaining. But no, that didn’t happen, and instead, I was wishing that the pretend swords were replaced with real ones, just so that characters would actually die.
I suppose I should mention what the actual plot is, not what happens during the climax of the film. Basically, two people do some stupid things, and they get sentenced to 150 hours of community service babysitting two kids. Paul Rudd looks after the already mentioned Mintz-Plasse, while Sean William Scott takes care of the profane child Bobb’e J. Thompson. The counselor of the nursery is Jane Lynch, who gets the funniest parts of the film.
Bobb’e J. Thompson’s character Ronnie is a back-talking little brat, who doesn’t listen to his “big brother”, while Rudd and Mintz-Plasse get along fine. We initially hope that the first pair will become friends, but soon realize that they will, and that it doesn’t honestly matter if they do or not. Once they do, their story arc doesn’t have any humor to it, because the child not listening to his sitter was the only part that was funny about it, and removing that is like removing the strings from a guitar.
So, once that happens, the group kind of comes together, “funny” things still happen, and it is all to set up the epic battle that I alluded to earlier. That’s about all there is here. Random events, poor subplots, and a fight scene that would only be funny and entertaining if real swords were used to decapitate the characters that we don’t care about.
This is one of the biggest issues I have with Role Models. It tries to make us care for its characters, except that none of them warrant any affection. Maybe Jane Lynch’s character, because she’s apparently overcome alcoholism and drug addiction, but neither the two adults or the two children deserve to be adored by me. I don’t even respect them, (they’re constantly seen doing stupid things), so why should I care about them? That’s right, no reason, except that the film tries to make them out to be “everyman”–people we are supposed to be able to relate to. Sorry guys, not feeling it.
My biggest complaint is the fact that I didn’t find much of the film to be funny. Early on, yeah, there were some humorous moments. I didn’t think it would get so boring later on, but it did. I kept hoping for things to take a comedic turn, but instead, the film insisted on staging random events that were neither funny nor entertaining. I was yawning constantly by the end of the film, and if I’m yawning more than I’m laughing, and in this case, a great deal more, then the film has not done its job.
“Trash” is just about the best word I can use to sum up Role Models. It just felt dirty to me, mostly stemming from the fact that most of its humor was derived from the profanity-laden child within it. I wasn’t entertained, I wasn’t laughing, and I ended up being sick of almost every character within it. If only there was a real sword battle, where if a character was hit, they’d actually lose a limb. That would’ve been cool.