Role Models

Role Models









Dir. David Wain

Starring: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks

It seems that over the last few years there have been few major comedy releases that haven’t featured Paul Rudd at some point somewhere (Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall to name a few). And although the movie isn’t one of Judd Apatow’s many popular darlings and instead has obscure director David Wain taking the reins, Role Models still manages to smack greatly of the ad-libbed, likeable loser- in -the- lead type of comedy that we’ve come to expect. You could say that the outcome was always going to be inevitable given the current trend of imitating whatever works at the time, (looking directly at you, Kevin Smith). Consider it ‘diet Apatow’ if you will. The point is, Role Models looks like another copycat idea that shouldn’t work, but this time it really does.

The movie opens with Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott), two energy drink salesmen who accidently wrap their company truck around valuable school property whilst attempting to escape from a parking fine. Fortunately, the pair manage to avoid jail thanks to the involvement of Danny’s lawyer girlfriend (the beautiful Elizabeth Banks), by doing  150 hours in a mentorship programme for children called ‘Sturdy Wings’. With the hopeless duo placed in charge of nerdy, awkward Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and  unruly delinquent Ronnie (newcomer Bobb’e J. Thompson), the scene is complete for a parental control car crash, and naturally, hilarious scenarios are bound to ensue.      

Nevertheless, although you’ll probably be able to predict the ending about half an hour in to the movie, the clichéd plotline can easily be overlooked due to the performances. The aforementioned Rudd is now a dab hand at what he does; mainly turning what could be an unlikeable, morose loser into a sympathetic funny man, seemingly without effort.  Sean William Scott is as usual a slight variant on Stifler, only this time he actually has a human side, changing his cardboard horny character into something resembling a person, and he’s the best he’s been.  Performance of the movie however goes to newcomer Bobb’e J. Thompson. Half the size of the rest of the cast but dominating the screen, Thompson is a hurricane of foul-mouthed non-sequiturs, easily throwing out the movie’s most memorable lines such as the classic, “You white, then you Ben Affleck”.   In a less successful comedy these character types would probably fall flat on their 2D faces but with good casting and great comedic contributions all round, the movie is able to warm the hearts of its audience and win our sympathy before the feel-good happy ending.

If you’re just looking for a movie that makes for easy viewing but equally with a lot of genuine laughs then this is the one for you. It won’t spark like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and it isn’t as accomplished as Knocked Up, but it shouldn’t be overlooked because of it. And it’s not about where it arrives; it’s the journey it takes to get there that makes Role Models a great way to spend 90 minutes.


Katie Slade   


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