Role Models David Wain

Role Models David Wain
Though Judd Apatow has been unofficially crowned the new "king of comedy" over the last four years, he's not alone in his quest to fill smart, relatable humour with dick and boob jokes. Having made a name for himself with 2001's underrated Wet Hot American Summer, David Wain gets his first shot at a commercial release with a feel-good comedy that fires on all cylinders. Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are salesmen who visit schools to promote the green-coloured energy drink Minotaur (or as they call it, "poison"). After getting dumped by his lawyer girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) for being emotionally stunted and negative, Danny loses his cool and rams a school's statue with the company truck (a joke with a visual punch line). In order to avoid jail, the two are forced to complete 150 hours of community service at Sturdy Wings, a Big Brother-like organization operated by Gayle (Jane Lynch), a recovering "coke whore" who gets off on calling out "BSers." Danny is set up with Augie (Superbad's Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a gawky loner obsessed with the RPG world of LAIRE, while Wheeler gets stuck with Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson), a potty-mouthed problem child with a fondness for breasts. Though it was released to little fanfare, Role Models is one of the most satisfying comedies in ages, and arguably the funniest film of 2008, exceeding the potential of its hilarious premise thanks to the screenwriting collaboration of Rudd, Wain, Ken Marino (who also plays Augie's macho stepfather) and Timothy Dowling, who all know how to riff on the hilarity of role-playing fantasy while balancing crude humour with inevitable life lessons. Best of all though is the brilliant ensemble cast, all of whom are at the top of their game. Lynch steals the show as the "psycho who cares," as does Thompson, whose mouth is full of four-letter zingers. Props to Scott too, who finally graduates from Stifler purgatory and of course, Rudd, who should be considered an A-list comedy lead. There is no commentary but some deleted scenes are a nice addition, especially the "getting-to-know-you-ball" session at Sturdy Wings and a hilarious alternate take on Danny's plea to the LAIRE king at the Burger Hole. A featurette looks behind the scenes, visiting the set and interviewing the cast and crew. Banks, who also starred in Wet Hot American Summer with Rudd and Marino, admits, "Wain can't not make an R-rated film because he likes penises too much and the word 'fuck,'" and Rudd explains that he purposely wrote scenes about everything he hates in order to turn Danny into a curmudgeon. The bloopers demonstrate just how hard it is to keep it together in a world of Sturdy Wings BS and the fantasy world of LAIRE, while a featurette on role-playing reveals that it is indeed "faggy." Finally, there is a three-part tribute to minor characters that allows the actors to dig deeper into their parts, including Sturdy Wings brownnoser Martin Gary, Kuzzik "the proud Xanthian" and Davith of Glencracken. (Universal)