Directed by David Wain
Starring Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Lynch
‘ROLE Models’ is not likely to be the model comedy for Malaysian viewers. It is too American, too derivative and not funny enough for our taste.It may, however, go the way of cult movies — and end up as the favourite DVD movie for “cosplay” (costume-play) and live-action role-playing fans.
Directed and co-written by relative newcomer David Wain, Role Models is a predictable buddy caper with a message about the importance of unconditional love. Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are two travelling salesmen who go from school to school selling a brand of energy drink (obviously inspired by Red Bull) to children as a substitute for illegal drugs.Wheeler thinks his job is fun but Danny is very much aware that he is heading nowhere.
When a problem in his relationship with his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) pushes Danny past breaking point, the two men land in trouble with the law.
To avoid going to jail, they have to join a programme called Sturdy Wings, where they play big brother to lonely children.
Wheeler is assigned a foul-mouthed pre-teen named Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson), while Danny gets Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad), a teenage nerd who is obsessed with medieval fantasy role-playing.
Of course, these pairings do not start well and their ensuing “sputters” provide some crazy situations, especially between the sex-crazed Wheeler and vile-tempered Ronnie.
Soon, however, the comedy strays into drama, and even documentary (the live-action role-playing) territory, and the laughs peter out.
Wain and his co-scripters (Rudd, Ken Marino, Tim Dowling, W. Blake Herron) have not bothered to develop Danny and Wheeler’s roles further other than to portray them as “big brothers”. It is as if they have no life other than doing the role model thing!
Role Models reminds us of Judd Apatow’s comedies (such as Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin).
Indeed, it is written by Apatow’s usual gang of collaborators but here he is conspicuously missing.
Role Models has none of the subplot adornments (or “bling-bling”) that lend colour and sparkle to Apatow’s efforts. Its ending, especially, looks shoddily contrived and phoney.
The cast, however, is strong. Rudd and Scott pair off well as “opposites”; Banks is credible as successful lawyer Beth who is tired of Danny’s grouchiness; and the children, Thompson and Mintz-Plasse, make a good account of themselves.
However, the one performance that stands out is from Jane Lynch whose zany portrayal of Gayle Sweeny, the Sturdy Wings community service boss, is demented enough to evoke plenty of chuckles.
Produced on a budget of US$28 million (RM98 million), Role Models has collected US$86.5 million (RM302 million) so far. Not bad for something so uninspired and tepid.
The New Straits Time
By : Lim Chang Moh
Khamis, Mac 05, 2009