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Role Models (DVD Review)

28 Feb, 2009 By: John Latchem

Role Models

Street 3/10/09
Box Office $67.3 million
$29.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity.
Stars Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong, Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney, A.D. Miles, Joe Lo Truglio, Matt Walsh.

Judd Apatow didn’t produce Role Models, but he may as well have. It has all the same bromance sensibilities, the same type of freestyle comedy and a cast of Apatow all-stars, so any confusion is understandable.

At the helm for this one is David Wain of the comedy troupe “Stella,” who previously directed cult faves such as Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten (which caused some buzz on the Internet with a sex scene between Winona Ryder and a ventriloquist’s puppet). For Role Models he combines a healthy mix of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott star as two guys who, through a series of unfortunate events, are forced to conduct community service to stay out of jail and are sent to mentor kids at the Sturdy Wings youth center. Such group settings are often rife for comedic possibilities, as the writers throw in a variety of quirky characters, and Role Models is no exception. The film doubles up the eccentricity when one of the youths, played by Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse, introduces Rudd to the world of live-action role-playing — a gaming club that involves dozens of people dressing up as medieval warriors and staging elaborate battles using foam swords.

The film starts well with some solid observational humor but hits a lull once the guys get to Sturdy Wings. It stays afloat thanks to some standout individual performances and a spot of nudity. Things pick up toward the end as lessons are learned in time for one big final battle.

Rudd anchors the film as his typical sardonic self, while 12-year-old Thompson is shockingly fresh as a randy preteen who curses with the vim and vigor of a sailor on shore leave.

The disc includes both unrated and ‘R’-rated theatrical versions of the films. Extras include a wry but thorough solo commentary from Wain (on the theatrical version), a smattering of behind-the-scenes material and some deleted scenes that may inspire some chuckles but otherwise aren’t very funny.

Still, with its comedy pedigree, Role Models is crass enough to fit right in with the wide array of movies that appeal to the frat-house mentality.

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