- Director:David Wain
- Cast:Elizabeth Banks, Tajh Bellow, Paul Rudd, Sean William Scott
- Release Date:June 03, 2009
- The Film:4.0
- The Disc:4.0
Hollywood cottage industry Judd Apatow (who directed Knocked Up and 40-Year-Old Virgin, and produced, amongst...
Hollywood cottage industry Judd Apatow (who directed Knocked Up and 40-Year-Old Virgin, and produced, amongst others, Superbad, Pineapple Express and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has succeeded in creating a new comedic sub-genre, mixing raunchy, profane humour with perfectly pitched sentiment, resulting in gag-fests rich with laughs and real feeling. He's been so successful that new films (including Zack And Miri Make A Porno and I Love You, Man) are arriving that could best be described as "Apatow comedies", even though the producer/director has no involvement in them. The howlingly funny Role Models is one such flick.
Danny (Apatow regular Paul Rudd in fine form) is an acerbic, self-loathing misanthrope. Wheeler (Seann William Scott at his flip, hilarious best) is a fun-loving party animal. They work together flogging an energy drink to high schoolers under the guise of drug avoidance education. After a bad day turns to disaster, they're given an option: go to prison or do 150 hours mentoring troubled kids through the Sturdy Wings programme. The decision is easy, and soon Danny is buddied up with Christopher Mintz-Plasse's fantasy-loving nerd ("If I mentioned a game of quidditch, he'd come in his pants," Danny sneers), while Wheeler is stuck with foul mouthed trouble maker Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson). Literal hilarity ensues (despite the presence of the kids, the film is filled with foul language and bad behaviour), and a few life lessons (all pitched at just the right level of sentiment) are learned.
Role Models is an absolute pisser. Like School Of Rock and The Bad News Bears, it cleverly walks a fine line by throwing kids in amongst the filth. The gags are just on the right side of offensive, and the characters are all eminently likeable (Jane Lynch is brilliant as the former drug addicted director of the Sturdy Wings child mentoring programme, Elizabeth Banks is her usual delightful self as Danny's put-upon girlfriend, and Bobb'e J. Thompson is like a pint-sized Eddie Murphy) and excellently performed. The result is a total winner: Role Models is a wild, funny comedy with heart.
As it does with style and tone, Role Models also takes its lead from Judd Apatow's films in terms of DVD packaging. This is loaded with special features, many of which play up the large amounts of improvisation done on the film. "On The Set Of Role Models" pretty much bleeds right into the gag reel, with both detailing the actors' off-the-cuff riffing. Further improv comes with "In Character & Off Script", where three of the supporting players discuss their characters, all furiously ad-libbing. Many of the deleted scenes are alternate or extended versions of ones seen in the film, but there are a couple of crackers in there. At a play centre, a well meaning woman says to pint sized profanity machine Reggie, "You're good enough to eat", to which he hilariously replies, "You're good enough to eat too, specifically your bush." There are a number of great scenes revolving around Sturdy Wings, the best of which features the mentors and kids throwing around the "getting to know you" ball, talking about themselves and their likes and dislikes. "I like it when right wing conservative politicians have gay kids," dryly says the misanthropic Danny. A very funny audio commentary from director David Wain rounds out the excellent package.