Published Nov 07, 2008Raunchy comedies with heart are all the rage this year and Role Models is up to the task of proving its worth in the field. David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) directs co-writer and star Paul Rudd alongside increasingly charming goofball Sean William Scott.
Scott and Rudd play Wheeler and Danny, two energy drink reps hawking their wares to school kids as an alternative to drugs. Relationship problems push the already morose Danny over the edge and after spouting some nihilism to the kiddies and getting into an altercation with a traffic cop, he and his accomplice by association wind up having to do community service to avoid jail time, thanks to Dannys lawyer ex, Beth, played by the ever lovely and solid Elizabeth Banks. She is almost the only rock amid all the juvenile insanity, which isnt a bad thing somebody had to be the straight (wo)man, she just doesnt get any of the funny lines.
Those juicy titbits are reserved for the dynamic dufus duo of Wheeler and Danny and their precocious little charges. Danny is assigned Augie Farks, a socially awkward live action role-playing obsessed young teen totally nailed by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, which should go a long way towards establishing him as much more than McLovin.
But the surprise comedy bombs come courtesy of Bobbe J. Thompson as Wheelers "little, Ronnie Shields. The foul-mouthed, breast-obsessed munchkin has attitude to spare and wont hesitate to bitch-slap a "vanilla, verbally, physically or in picture form. How the bonds develop between these likeable jackasses and the kids is surprisingly touching and wholly hilarious.
Its a great achievement for a straight comedy dressed in R-rated language to avoid many rom-com and buddy movie pitfalls in favour of a story that deals in the ridiculous but fully plausible without conceding to too many conventions.
Rudd, Scott and Wain deserve a success out of Role Models for providing one of the biggest laugh-to-joke ratios on screen this year, and for giving the league of supporting comedians their day in the sun. (Universal)