Drink it up
Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott bring the comedy
I’ve never actually volunteered as a Big Sister, but I’m a big believer in mentorship programs. And Role Models, while it’s a comic look at two guys who are perfectly unfit to be mentors, is a wonderful example of the adults getting just as much—if not more—out of the situation as their younger counterparts.
Danny (Paul Rudd) is down on life after his girlfriend dumps him, and his co-worker Wheeler (Seann William Scott) is along for the ride. Literally. A few too many Minotaur energy drinks, which they sell to high schoolers, sends Danny on a tirade, getting the two arrested and sentenced to 150 hours of community service.
So, Danny and Wheeler head over to a big-brothers program, headed by ex-cokehead Gayle Sweeney (Jane Lynch), to do their time. Danny is paired with the hopelessly nerdy and weird Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad fame), and Wheeler with the foulmouthed Ronnie (Bobb’e Thompson).
Through spending time with their respective “littles,” Danny and Wheeler are forced to look at their lives in terms of other people. Wheeler, a manwhore if there ever was one, has a particularly hard time giving up the ladies in favor of responsibility (though he has time to talk about what he loves with Ronnie), while Danny must get over his own self-pity in order to see Augie for more than just a mega geek.
Role Models is full of hilarious moments, most of which take place on the medieval-re-enactment battlefield (Augie role plays and drags Danny along). But while much of the film is in parody mode (the mere fact that two guys could get out of going to jail by mentoring kids is a joke), there are sweet bonding moments, too.
Rudd, who also co-wrote the film, is a great deadpan comedian, which is needed to balance Scott’s over-the-top personality. As for the kids, Lintz-Plasse does a nice job of playing a nerd (not sure he has to try too hard, though), and Thompson is a loveable little guy with a definite dose of attitude. Lynch is her usual ridiculous self, and that’s fine because she’s good at it. Kerri Kenney (Reno 911!) also makes a notable appearance as Augie’s unsupportive mother.
While Role Models may not be the most raucous comedy of the year, it’s certainly passable, keeping a fast pace and even tone throughout. Certainly worth an afternoon matinée—just don’t bring the kids.