Not role model material
Director David Wain has added another film to the archives that depicts the classic story of a “dynamic duo of unmotivated male adults who have to find their way in life.” Role Models, a raunchy new comedy about a series of events that enable and ultimately force two men to find out who they really are, fails to make a lasting impression. Feeling like the latest Seth Rogen film, Role Models lacks personality and a certain flair.
Seann William Scott, best known for his role as Stifler, the high school ladies man in the popular American Pie films, plays Wheeler, an immature and sex-crazed adult who is happy working for an energy drink company. Paul Rudd, best known for his role as Pete, the unhappy and smothered husband in Knocked Up, plays Danny, a depressed and melodramatic adult who is unsatisfied with everything in his life, including his job at the energy drink company. These roles should sound familiar — Scott and Rudd play these same characters over and over again.
Wheeler and Danny are best friends, despite the fact that they really don’t have much in common. After proposing to and then being dumped by his girlfriend, Danny decides to take out his anger on the people and things around him, including a school statue. Both Danny and Wheeler are ultimately held responsible. To avoid going to prison on numerous counts, the duo must complete 150 hours of community service mentoring kids through a local organization. The mentees are known as “littles” in the film.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, best known as Fogell in Superbad, plays Augie; he is Danny’s geeky “little” who is obsessed with a game world called Laire. This is a fantasy battle between numerous “countries” that are full of people dressed up as knights and trolls with fake weapons; the ultimate goal is to become king of their organization, and to do so you must kill the current king. It is ironic that, despite the fact that Augie is criticized for the majority of this 90-minute film, even by his parents, because of his obsession with Laire, the game is the very thing that forces Danny to grow up.
Wheeler’s “little” is Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson), the overly aggressive son of a single mother; his father left them when he was younger. While Thompson adds a comedic value to the role, the awkward and excessive cursing, racial jokes, and constant references to “boobies” make the idea of this 10-year-old character uncomfortable. Being just a smaller version of Wheeler, it isn’t shocking that he is extremely hormonal, but it becomes overbearing after the first 30 minutes. In the end, it is Ronnie’s brutal honesty that somewhat transforms Wheeler for the good.
This film loses its spark once the actors say the same joke a third time; these are the same jokes that can also be heard in other comedies similar to Role Models, such as Step Brothers and Road Trip. The overall message of the film — of being true to oneself — is clear within the first 30 minutes of the movie, but the remaining 60 minutes just become a blur of sex jokes and innuendo.