When two grown men with the minds of adolescent boys are forced to mentor a couple of uniquely troubled adolescent boys, the results are not only rather hilarious but involve real growth for all parties involved.
This is the premise behind Universal Pictures’ new guy comedy ‘Role Models,’ and while the picture serves up a full plate of low-brow laughs, there is enough depth in the characters and scenario that your girlfriend won’t yell at you for making her sit through it.
‘Role Models’ stars Paul Rudd (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) and Seann William Scott (most famously Stifler of ‘American Pie’ fame) as Danny and Wheeler, Kevin Smith-esque man children who spend their days as co-workers encouraging middle school kids to say no to drugs and drink stimulant-laden ‘Minotaur’ energy drink instead.
High on ‘Minotaur’ and fed up with the worst day of his quickly-unraveling life, Danny battles a tow truck driver for control of the official ‘Minotaur’ energy drink redneck truck and ends up crashing into a school mascot statue. Jobless and faced with all sorts of criminal charges, the pair are given two options: go to jail or sign on for community service at Sturdy Wings, a hilarious spoof on the Big Brother program.
Placement with Augie, a hopelessly nerdy live action role playing afficiando, and Ronnie, a troubled 5th-grader badly in need of a father figure, leads to two guys who cannot even run their own lives successfully giving it their best shot to make a difference in someone else’s.
‘Role Models’ takes full advantage of its R-rating, chock full of sex gags and not pulling any punches when it comes to the most intelligent kind of dumb comedy. Casting is spot-on, and the dichotomy between each pair of ‘Little’ and ‘Big’ works to perfection.
The film largely succeeds because unlike many just-for-fun comedies, the characters manage to convey growth and emotion. You will be pulling for Danny and his lawyer girlfriend to reconcile, and for Augie to profess his love to his nerd princess, even though these characters make no pretenses about being vehicles for good jokes first and for real people second.
‘Role Models’ won’t be pulling any Oscars wins, but it accomplishes its mission: lots of laughs with a nice little dose of heart.
Three stars out of five.