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Nov. 10, 2008

A good "Role Model" for all comedies

by Katie Sint, Online Managing Editor
If you could choose the two worst guys to mentor young children, who would they be? This seems to have been the driving question that inspired the latest buddy comedy, "Role Models." Packed with double entendres and perfect "that's what she said" moments, the film guarantees great laughs. However, what makes this movie memorable is that, unlike recent buddy films, it shines beyond the hackneyed cookie cutter format. The film is saved by its sensitive plot line and is sure to generate not only laughs from the audience, but a chorus of "aww" as well.

Reckless behavior forces two aimless losers, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) to enroll in a court-ordered mentoring program, "Sturdy Wings." Danny and Wheeler are paired up with their "littles," Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a hapless dork enveloped in a mythical fantasy world and Ronnie Shields (Bobb'e J. Thompson), a troublesome and problematic child. Under the watchful eye of ex-convict and "Sturdy Wings" founder Gayle Sweeny (Jane Lynch), the two learn more about themselves and the importance of doing "what makes you happy."

(released December 31, 1969)
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With the strange combination of mythical renaissance reenactments and crude innuendo, "Role Models" offers a surprisingly heartwarming variation to the recently popular testosterone-fueled buddy comedies. Like any R rated comedy, the film contains its share of cringe-worthy moments that will surely incite laughter, either from uneasiness or from actual amusement. However, the film can also boast an uplifting plot line that, although is corny at times, makes the movie thoroughly enjoyable.

The outrageous characters are just crazy enough to be believable; from the ex-convict turned philanthropic do-gooder Gayle Sweeny to the folklore and mythology enthusiasts Kuzzik (Joe Lo Truglio) and King Argotron (Ken Jeong). Most of the scenes in the film are just as funny as the previews and trailers suggest, including the "I don't wanna take my pants off!" scene between Ronnie and Wheeler.

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the film comes from the acting talent of the film's stellar cast. Rudd and Scott shine in the film, starring as a pair of two opposite personality types. They deliver their lines with expert timing and even their most subtle facial expressions are hilarious.

Fans of "Superbad" will be delighted to see Mintz-Plasse step into the shoes of yet another socially awkward teenager. Donning a cape and wielding a sword made of soft foam and duct tape, Mintz-Plasse's portrayal of Augie Farks will make audiences laugh and cry at the same time. Shield's performance as the tough seven year old with a penchant for throwing the f-word into normal conversation causes the most laughter during the film. Co-written by Rudd, the script is witty and incorporates great comebacks and biting remarks that are delivered perfectly by the cast.

Unfortunately, "Role Models" is not without its flaws. The film is unable to build comedic momentum early, resulting in a slow and dry start. Interactions between Danny and Wheeler during the first 20 minutes of the film feel forced and fail to incite laughter. This slow beginning, paired with several disjointed scenes and a few lackluster sexual jokes, drags the storyline and the acting talent of the cast down.

Yet film is worth seeing and worth sitting through because of the fulfilling and heartwarming ending. For audiences that are seeking something more from the typical buddy comedies than just fart jokes and drug references, "Role Models" is sure to be a perfect fit.

"Role Models" (99 minutes) is rated R for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity. Now playing in theaters everywhere.



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