Written by: David Wain, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Timothy Dowling
Starring: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch
Being a grown adult does not automatically qualify you as someone kids should necessarily look up to or try to emulate. In fact, some adults should stay completely away from youths in order to not display inappropriate behavior. For differing reasons the two adults we follow in Role Models fit the definition but still receive the opportunity to do some good, which allows for a raunchy and hilarious comedy to enjoy.
Both facing the threat of jail because of an indiscretion, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) have the option to serve their time in the slammer or participate in a community service project mentoring young boys. Taking the latter opportunity, they get matched up with two boys they cannot understand but grow a unique bond allowing for these two men to grow up.
Danny and Wheeler enter this film with their own personal issues. Wheeler lives as a perpetual bachelor with no real sense of responsibility while Danny seemingly has everything one could want in life but remains horrifically miserable. He hates his job with a passion and brings everyone’s mood down to such a disconcerting degree. No scene sums it up more than the famous coffee shop scene where he berates a barista because the venti means large and he goes on this rant. The opportunity to mentor Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson) certainly comes as something they see as checking the box to avoid jail time but the level of responsibility levied at them allows for something meaningful in their lives. Their shared experience demonstrates the impact each person has on another without even knowing it.
To be frank, while this feature does have some sweet moments, it undoubtedly wants to be a raunchy comedy and does succeed in delivering several comedic moments that will raise eyebrows. This occurs in many aspects of the film, from the abrasive demeanor of Ronnie in how he tries to repel any adult who attempts to build a connection with him to Augie’s love for the medieval live-action RPG “LAIRE.” It certainly gets absurd in moments just how much these two boys act out in their ways but this film ultimately lands on the lesson of letting people enjoy what they do, especially if it does not cause harm to others. As the film progresses the only one who truly gets Augie and his love for something that seems downright odd is Danny, which when coming from an absolute cynic like him, demonstrates some earth-shattering character growth.
Wheeler on the other hand just lives life loving dressing up as a Minotaur for work and attending parties in the evenings where he enjoys casual sexual encounters with women. Matching him up with Ronnie becomes a perfect match in a sense as he connects with the kid as he enters puberty and certainly has his fascination with women. Their discussion on boobs certainly highlighted what makes them quite the pair, but Wheeler also gets the opportunity to learn how to actually care for others and be a bit more serious in life even if not fully letting go of what makes him Wheeler. Their back and forth makes for some hilarious moments.
While the central quartet creates the majority of the comedy, this feature also has wonderful supporting performances from Jane Lynch and A.D. Miles. Lynch portrays the leader of this volunteer group and every time she mentions her past, which involved a plethora of drug use, it just worked and landed. Much of that comes down to Lynch and her exceptional delivery but the way she serves as the roadblock of accountability for these two man-children allows for several highly comedic moments and then you throw in A.D. Miles who portrays the perpetual volunteer, Martin. He shows up in moments but each scene delivers pure gold.
Very crude in moments but delivering a steady stream of laughs throughout, Role Models satisfies the itch for a good comedy. It presents the opportunity for these immature men to turn their lives around with two stridently different boys and the connection these four make adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the narrative to compound with the comedy. Certainly memorable for distinct scenes, this feature ultimately serves as a good time and a good rare opportunity to see Paul Rudd portray a highly unlikeable character, which does not happen often.