Friday, April 10, 2009

Role Models

Role Models (David Wain, 2008) [7]
Despite its predictable story structure and ending, Role Models more than makes up for its deficiencies in laughs. And as I've said many times before in regards to comedies, all I really am asking for is to laugh, so this film more than meets my expectations. Yet, there is something about Role Models that goes a little deeper in that it really seems to care about its characters and not just using their idiosyncrasies to get laughs. The film has more than its share of crude, juvenile moments but in the end, it's never using its story or its characters for cheap laughs at their expense. In a film world where comedy is all to eager to have us laugh at losers or misanthropes at the expense of them being actually characters, it's nice to see a film actually think. Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott play two energy drink salesmen who are required to mentor some unusual kids as a result of Rudd's character having a meltdown. It's not so much Scott's character or his little person, a hilarious yet somewhat hollow Bobb'e Thompson as an obscenely foulmouthed child. It is Rudd as a coldly cynical adult whose dreams have been shattered and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as a totally insular geek that make the film worth its while. Rudd's character is actually tethered to reality, as someone who realizes what a shit hole life can be while Scott, playing the same exact character he almost always manges to play, the horny party boy, is uses as a counterpoint. But it is Rudd as Danny that actually gives the laughs some sting, as being in a dead end in a job and relationship isn't something that might not be that fun personally. The crux of the film is Mintz-Plasse as Augie, a loner lost in the fantasy world that plays a key role in the film. Never once do I think that the film uses Augie or this world for cheap laughs but instead actually takes the time to know about and care about a character such as this. It makes the film enjoyable instead of having cringe-worthy moments. Points shouldn't be taken away because the film follows such a predictable structure but it is surprising for someone like David Wain to make such a film seeing how Wet Hot American Summer was so all over. It may be all worth it.

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