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Movie Review: Role Models

Role Models: Setting a Good Example For Comedic Movies

For the second time in recent history, I left an R-rated comedy feeling really happy. First Kevin Smith's crass, dirty film about low-budget porn turns out to be rather sweet, and now Role Models. Though full of crude language and nasty jokes, the movie is really a twisted sort of coming-of-age story — for the adult characters more than the kids — that's ultimately heartwarming.

Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are two energy drink reps who have been with the company for several years now. Danny has grown frustrated with what he sees as a dead-end career, while Wheeler is something of a frat-boyish slacker who rather enjoys his low-commitment lifestyle. One day, however, Danny's aggravation overwhelms him and he and Wheeler end up getting in trouble with the law. They choose to put in 150 hours of service at a mentoring program rather than go to jail, and they meet their charges: Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson). For more of the story and my thoughts on it all,


Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott make a great, well-cast team, but my favorite actor in the whole thing is Jane Lynch, who plays the ex-convict director of the mentoring program. She keeps a watchful (if not slightly twitchy) eye on the two men as they attempt to bond with Augie and Ronnie. These relationships are rocky at first (since the big joke here is that these two schlubs are allowed to be role models at all), but in the end, everyone learns a little something about himself.

I have paid attention to director David Wain's career ever since he was a member of MTV's awesome/bizarre sketch show The State, and though I love Wain's Wet Hot American Summer, I understand that it's something of an acquired taste. When his movie The Ten came out last year, though, I was disappointed. Now it seems Wain has struck a good balance: Taking a simple story (two guys who join a mentoring program and struggle to connect with their charges) and infusing it with his weird, sometimes awkward, sometimes crass sense of humor. This way, we're not overloading on the cheesy, mundane stuff of the ordinary mainstream comedy, but it's also not just one long string of bizarre jokes.

The message (if one is wont to look for such things), too, is particularly accessible to the 20- and 30-somethings of America. Danny experiences a specific kind of ennui, a sense of despair at not knowing what makes life meaningful. This idea that the key to happiness is community and helping others can been found in countless movies, but here it's coming all wrapped up in sarcasm and sex jokes and the cute, droll Paul Rudd. But then, of course, as soon as we realize that there might be a goopy central theme to all this, someone punches someone else in the crotch and we're back to just having a good time. It's both funny and satisfying.

Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

han00 han00 8 years
this film looks good!
hockeygirl08 hockeygirl08 8 years
This movie was just what I needed with all the depressing crap going on in the country these days. So funny! I, too, would see anythign with Paul Rudd in it. He's incredible. Now I'm off to see Twilight. "Hi my name is Hockeygirl08 and I'm addicted to Twilight" "Hi Hockeygirl08"
foxie foxie 8 years
See Madagascar 2 instead!
treb treb 8 years
I liked I Could Never Be Your Woman. The funniest part of this movie was in the middle of the credits. It was funny and cute but Zack and Miri was way funnier.
ebgirl ebgirl 8 years
I'm a big fan of Paul Rudd, but I'm sorry to say that I just came home from seeing this film and HATED IT. It was so bad throughout the first 2/3 that we almost walked out, and the last third was just your typical sappy ending. Both the hubby and I were really disappointed. There were a couple of funny lines, but I really felt like Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd had no chemistry whatsoever and that the "comedy" was very forced. I do like most of the actors in this film, I just didn't think it was very good. I'm obviously in the minority though because it got a 74% rating on
jennitee jennitee 8 years
would this be a good first date movie, or would there be awkward parts?
4evrfuzzy 4evrfuzzy 8 years
OMG! I LOVED I could never be your woman! I watched it twice right in a row. I've recommended it to everyone and I have yet to find someone who didn't think it was adorable.
spicyaroma spicyaroma 8 years
Anything with Paul Rudd is worth watching. I simply adore that man :)
foxie foxie 8 years
I love "You think because I'm BLACK I did it?!" "No, because you did it is why I think you did it." Teehee! I don't typically like comedies, but this looks cute.
nancita nancita 8 years
The previews have made me laugh, so I'm glad to hear that Wain's talents are being channeled into something successful.
menthadict menthadict 8 years
I had to see this when I first saw the trailer- I'm sorry but a good all white people look alike joke gets me every time.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
wow - i find that you're tastes here are truly leaning towards the easy going humor comedies and i like that. i'm one to gravitate to dramas at times, but it's really nice to know that there are comedies out there that are ok even when they look like there's not much substance to them. i might have to check this out now, even though i've been saying that it's not high on my priority list.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Nitachequita — OMG, I sometimes can't believe I actually watched I Could Never Be Your Woman all the way through. :) Hahaha
berrypeachie berrypeachie 8 years
I thought it was really cute and funny. I expected it to be a lot more humerous, but I liked some of the nerdy comedy in it as well. It was overally hilarious, but it wasn't a flop.
luckyme luckyme 8 years
"...this one WAS going to be good." Pregnancy brain. Argh!
luckyme luckyme 8 years
Oh yay! I'm glad you liked it. I love Paul Rudd, so I was really hoping this one's going to be good :).
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
I will see ANYTHING with Paul Rudd in it (which, admittedly, was a mistake when it came to I Could Never Be Your Woman, but this movie looks so cute!). I'm glad to hear Buzz liked it, now I'm doubly interested in seeing it!
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