Two salesmen trash a company truck on an energy drink-fueled bender. Upon their arrest, the court gives them a choice: do hard time or spend 150 service hours with a mentorship program. After one day with the kids, however, jail doesn't look half bad.
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What works most appreciably well for Role Models is the punchline that trails every dramatic sequence Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a trick John Hughes regularly employed for his classic 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s comedies. Just when a heartrending moment draws you in, a jolting blast of vulgarity induces inescapable laughter. It may be immaturity that wins over the audiences that watch Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd act out their funny-man-straight-man routines, but really intellectual humor is scarce in contemporary comedy. Instead, Role Models uses its hilarious character actor cast (including a scene-stealing Jane Lynch) to their fullest extent, keeping the unremitting coarse riffs coming and the viewers rolling in the aisles.
Danny (Paul Rudd) is an energy drink spokesman, selling liquid poison to kids for a living and hating every second of it. His infectious depression finds him constantly at odds with his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) and his coworker Wheeler (Sean William Scott), a reckless, sex-crazed pervert (and the stay-off-drugs Minotaur Man mascot). Both are definitely not role models. But when DannyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s maniacal antics find them facing jail time or 150 hours of community service, the duo are forced to enroll in the Sturdy Wings program and mentor two misfit kids, Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Ronnie (BobbÃ¢â‚¬â„¢e J. Thompson). What starts as a reluctant pairing soon develops into real friendship and all four outcasts will learn a little about life, love, and coarse language.
As the two mentored kids attempt extremes to escape unfriendly realities, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the adults who realize theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re doing the same thing. Both Danny and Wheeler find themselves becoming better people as they coach their newfound friends into gaining self esteem and finding more civil ways to vent. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a traditional formula, but well done and approached with a generous helping of boorish humor.
The supporting characters and kookiness of every eccentric activity really makes Role Models stand out amongst the pack of R-rated rebellious comedies. As Wheeler hilariously coaxes Danny to appreciate some Ã¢â‚¬Å“insane sympathy rebound pussyÃ¢â‚¬Â after his breakup with lawyer gal Beth, the straight-man/funny-guy chemistry between the two lead actors is appropriately demonstrated. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the supporting role of BS-proof instructor Gayle (Jane Lynch) who consistently steals the show, aided by foul-mouthed little Ronnie or the out-of-this-world LAIRE events (a live-action dungeons-and-dragons roleplaying tournament) that Augie dwells in. Trips to Chipmunk CharlieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, lessons in booby-watching and innuendo galore add to the hysterical gags.
Role Models starts strong and loses little steam throughout its offbeat tale of making friends and fixing relationships, yet the morals do lessen in impact as the revelations continue to get surrounded by sillier and more farfetched events. Both Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott effortlessly deliver plenty of crude laughs - and for some reason hearing young kids curse profanely never seems to get old.
- The Massie Twins (www.GoneWithTheTwins.com)