Saturday, May 16, 2009

Role Models

Role Models
2008. Rated R, 99 minutes.
Director: David Wain. Starring Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong, Elizabeth Banks, Bobb'e J. Thompson.

Plot: After accidentally destroying public property, energy drink salesmen and work buddies Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) each have to perform 150 hours of community service at "Sturdy Wings." They're each assigned a child whom they will mentor on the weekends. Hijinks and shenanigans ensue.

The Good: As with anything by the Apatow group (yes, I'm counting Rudd among them, he wrote this), there are some scenes and dialogue that are just downright hilarious. The dynamics of relationships between straight males is again ably portrayed. Our two leads fit comfortably into their roles, Rudd as a fairly straight-laced but not particularly happy guy and Scott as yet another incarnation of his Stifler from the American Pie movies. Jane Lynch as former drug addict turned counselor Gayle Sweeney steals every scene in which she appears.

The Bad: Due to the fact they've found a very profitable formula, I've now seen this movie at least half a dozen times. Don't believe me? Let's go through the checklist. At least one slacker who is depressed? Check. A "wild and crazy" dimwitted friend who tries to help him snap out of it? Check. A girl that breaks up with said slacker, tormenting him even further? Check. A budding bromance? Triple check! That's right, we don't just get one bromance, we get three (our two heroes with each other and each with the kid they're mentoring). And nothing unexpected happens in any of them.

The Ugly: When very little Ronnie (Thompson) drops an "F-bomb" right in front of his mom and she, well, essentially does nothing. I was really, really tempted to turn it off at that point.

Recommendation: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Superbad, Step Brothers. You know if you like these movies or not. It's the same formula repetitively rehashed to fit a different premise. For me, the law of diminishing returns kicked in a few movies ago. So while this, like the others, has some really funny moments, the whole isn't nearly as satisfying as it use to be.

The Opposite View: Claudia Puig, USA Today

What the Internet Says: 7.3/10 on imdb.com (4/21/09), 76% on rottentomatoes.com, 60/100 on metacritic.com

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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