Stiffler’s inane pretty-boy-where’s-my-car antics were never really my bag of cats. But every once in a while a movie can come along that’s just good enough to redefine an actor for you. Tropic thunder did it with Tom Cruise. And role models accomplished this by pairing Sean William Scott with Paul Rudd, a great clash of pussy-chasing eternal optimism and thirty something angst-frump. It was thoroughly enjoyable.
The Plot In 13 Words
Sports drink fueled rage leads to court ordered mentorship of emotionally bizarre children.
What I Thought
Like most bigger budget male comedies these days the story is really about the quest to delay one’s adolescence just before the bitter end, where girlfriends give up on you and fun jobs turn into hollow occupations. In this case, it’s Rudd and Scott hocking a Red Bull like energy drink called Minotaur to assemblies of school children. Between stay-off-drug pep talks at youths in gymnasiums, they funnel the product and burn the occasional fattie. For Rudd, the lack of fulfillment leads to a constant bitterness that alienates his woman and everyone around him. It comes to a head in a gin-fueled speech to kids about how awesome drinking and drugs are, and that the reason you do them is to quell the unavoidable pain of life. He backs a truck shaped like a Minotaur over a statue shaped like a horse and is sentenced to a Big-Brother kid-care program.
By the end, it’s the tried and true “the adults learned from the kids” story. As conventional as it all sounds, the film is different. Unlike a lot of predecessors in the genre it didn’t rely too heavily on dick jokes and period stains to get laughs. It did have a lot of elementary school kids cursing like longshoremen, which is brilliant. The dialogue is really the big winner, particularly the lines from the child paired with Scott. It’s smart and quick. Rudd’s facial gestures alone are enough to coax a chuckle. The final battle scene, featuring an army of a Role-Playing dweebs (including Matt Walsh) is just plain awesome.
A Crisis of Credit
Not to get to faux philosophical, but I buy the idea that there are very few people for kids to look up to, and the movie drives it home. Almost every adult in the flick is flawed in some way, and unfit to lead. Being a shitty parent, dressing up and playing with swords, flaunting their history of coke-addiction to float a charity—there are n role models in Role Models. In a country where the economy is collapsing from credit card abuse and greedy banking practices, maybe David Wain is onto something. Whatever the message, I say see it, and if there is not enough money in your checking account, just put it on your Visa.
By Max Powers