“Role Models” – Susan Granger reviews

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.