Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 201: Role Models (2008) - Rank 4/5


I feel bad that I missed this one when it was first released in theaters. Not only is it a damn funny comedy, but it's got a decent script to boot. Star Paul Rudd receives the benefit of his own pen, having co-written the screenplay with director and "Stella" alumnus David Wain. And thankfully, Seann William Scott reminded me that he can be funny (a bit of information I forgot after he spent a great deal of his time milking his Stifler routine to death in countless American Pie sequels).

The premise is simple: two roustabouts, Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) are sentences to community service after getting jacked up on energy drinks and trashing a school statue. Their time is to be served with Sturdy Wings, a mentoring program for maladjusted children. Danny takes LARPer ubergeek Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse - forever to be remembered as "McLovin'" in "Superbad") and Wheeler receives hellion Ronnie (newcomer Bobb'e J. Thompson). It's no surprise that after a series of misanthropic adventures that the reprobate duo will come to enjoy their time with their youngsters, but the chaos that ensues along the way is certainly worth the watch for its sheer hilarity.

I found it delightfully absurd and entertaining that the film's climax features a battle that rivals the fight for Minas Tirith in "LOTR: Return of the King." Beloved characters meet with gruesome deaths at the hands of their imaginations and the "weapons" of enemy warriors during a LARP spree in the city park. The parody of epic films and the simultaneous mockery of those who engage in role playing was a stroke of genius. Another mark of a clever mind is the casting of Jane Lynch and Joe Lo Truglio. Lynch, as Gayle Sweeney, the head of Sturdy Wings, tears the scenery to pieces any time the camera is on her with digressions about shit-talk and cocaine habits. And Truglio, donning the role of Kuzzick, Augie's superior in the LARP realm of LAIRE, had me gasping for air from laughter as he spouted off one barrage of cliched, medieval lingo after the next, conveying no true message in the process ("Diana has put away her bosom. Apollo has lifted his skirt. The day has been launched!"). Needless to say, it's refreshing to see a comedy aimed at a younger demographic that's not preoccupied with basing its humor solely on scatological references or fricative expletives.

Watch the Trailer

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