“Role Models” – Susan Granger reviews
Taking its place among the raunchy, arrested development comedies by Judd Apatow, Kevin Smith and the Farrelly brothers, the aptly named “Role Models” revolves around two immature buddies with commitment issues.
Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) work as sales reps for an energy-drink company, Minotaur, driving a fire-snorting monster truck to Southern California high schools, plugging their product as the safe alternative to illegal drugs. A wild man-child, Wheeler loves the job but underachieving Danny is dissatisfied and depressed, an attitude which so bugs his lawyer girlfriend (omnipresent Elizabeth Banks of “W”and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”) that she breaks up with him.
One day, Danny’s rope snaps and – after a public altercation involving a statue and the demolition of their vehicle – he and Wheeler are given the no-brainer choice: either go to jail for 30 days or devote 150 hours to community service at a Big Brother-type of facility known as Sturdy Wings.
Following a stern, psycho-babbling lecture by Sturdy Wings’ crusading founder, Gayle Sweeney (scene-stealing Jane Lynch from “The 40 Year-Old Virgin”), they’re assigned troubled youngsters to mentor. Danny gets Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the nerdy sidekick McLovin in “Superbad”), a cape-wearing teenage dork who’s into role-playing in a Dungeons & Dragons-like game in the mythical, medieval kingdom of Laire, explaining: “In this world, I don’t have to be me.”Wheeler‘s misfit charge is foul-mouthed, fatherless Ronnie (Bobbie J. Thompson).
Written by Paul Rudd, David Wain, Ken Marino and Timothy Dowling and directed by Wain (“Wet Hot American Summer”) it’s a formulaic yet glibly funny examination of these guys’inner goofball, culminating in a crowd-pleasing finale. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Role Models”is a profanity-laden, silly 6. Anarchy reigns.