Even though it’s rated R, Role Models could easily be mistaken as a Judd Apatow-produced
attempt at a family film.The film stars Seann William Scott and
frequent Apatow collaborator Paul Rudd as co-workers
who, after Rudd’s character loses it from a combination of his dead-end job and
a rejected marriage proposal, gets sentenced to 120 hours of community service
in lieu of prison.Their service consists
of a big-brother-style mentorship program, where they take troubled Augie
Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, AKA: McLovin) and Ronnie Shields (Bobb’e J.
Thompson) under their wings.Along the way,
wacky hijinks ensue and all four realize that, despite their differences,
they’ve become friends.
Release Date: Nov. 7
Director: David Wain
Writer: Paul Rudd, David Wain, Ken Marino and Timothy Dawling
(screenplay), Timothy Dawling and W. Blake Herron (story)
Cinematographer: Russ T. Alsobrook
Starring: Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher
Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Jane Lynch
Studio/Running Time: Universal Pictures, 99 mins.
Aside from the cast and even the cinematographer (who has
worked with Apatow since The Ben Stiller Show),
much of what makes this feel like an Apatow film is how reliable the plot
is.The end is no surprise to anyone
who’s watched even a dozen Hollywood films, but what’s important is the journey. David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) allows the characters to meander to their
destined plot points for as long as the jokes will take them—which can be quite a
while in some cases.But since the
overall story isn’t in question, this time spent elsewhere doesn’t detract; it
instead deepens the characters. The jokes aren’t revolutionary either, but
they are spot on.
Farks is obsessed with an Amtgard-esque live action
role-playing game while Shields speaks in non-stop profanity with a focus on
wanting to get laid.In lesser hands,
this could easily turn them into merely character-types.However, the space leftover from such a
phoned-in plot allows them and their elder counterparts enough room to become deep
and believable.While the arcs for all
four main characters can be seen from a mile away, to paraphrase Robert McKee,
it’s a formula because it works.Rudd still plays the same basic cynical-but-loveable person he's played in every
film, but he’s just so good at it that it’s hard to fault him.
Role Models is not
experimental like some of Wain’s other comedy projects (Stella, The State).What it is, though, is well acted, well
written and extremely polished.Most
important of all, it’s really funny.Apatow
should be flattered by the comparison.