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Role Models

4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

To the casual observer, it must seem as though developmentally challenged slackers have assumed total control of the Hollywood comedy machine. After ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘Pineapple Express’ (to name but two), ‘Role Models’ arrives as yet another tale of directionless thirtysomethings who are forced into awkward situations and stumble across the meaning of life. When this formula is poorly handled (as with the recent ‘Zack and Miri’) it can be excruciatingly shallow and crass. But when it works it can make for genuine, heartfelt comedy gold. ‘Role Models’ works.

Hauled in by the cops following a rampant energy juice bender, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (a mercifully restrained Seann William Scott) are sentenced to 150 hours of community service in the company of two troubled kids: hyperactive, foul-mouthed ten-year-old Ronnie (Bobb’e J Thompson) and role-playing Dungeons & Dragons nerd Augie (Christopher ‘McLovin’’ Mintz-Plasse). The usual hi-jinks ensue, before everyone learns and grows and hugs, and Rudd sings a song.

So far, so predictable. But who cares when the script is tight, the jokes clever and numerous, the characters rounded and likeable and the soundtrack studded with ’70s rock classics? Added value comes in the form of some spectacularly off-the-wall cameo appearances, most notably Jane Lynch in another brittle, worrying performance as an ex-cokehead turned protector of children.
‘Role Models’ isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, just polish it up a little. What emerges is a memorable slice of modern slapstick, with charm to spare and just a touch of soul.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 9 January 2009
  • Duration:99 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:David Wain
  • Screenwriter:David Wain, Ken Marino, Paul Rudd, Timothy Dowling
  • Cast:
    • Ken Jeong
    • Seann William Scott
    • Bobb'e J. Thompson
    • Ken Marino
    • Christopher Mintz-Plasse
    • Paul Rudd
    • Elizabeth Banks
    • Jane Lynch
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