Review: ‘Role Models:’ A buddy comedy from the last decade


‘Role Models’ is a buddy comedy that would have been better if it were made last decade.

In an awkward pairing, Stifler and that arrogant guy from “Clueless” play the two leads, a pairing that is so fresh it feels like 1999 all over again.

Wheeler (Sean William Scott) and Danny (Paul Rudd) are energy drink salesmen. Wheeler’s a cool, macho bro who lives life by the seat of his pants. Danny is a self-deprecating jerk who hates his life.

While promoting their drink, Minotaur, the two drive their Minotaur mobile off a tow rig and up a middle school’s statue. Trying to avoid jail, the two are enlisted in Sturdy Wings, a big brother program.

Soon the smug Danny is teamed up with a live-action role player, played fantastically by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, a.k.a. McLovin, and Wheeler looks after a foul-mouthed, forever cursing pre-teen.

The movie is formulaic enough to be entertaining, but the film goes back and forth from trying to be a Judd Apatow-patented comedy and an inspirational, “be yourself” movie with a message.

The first two acts of “Role Models” are watchable, but once things start to get emotional and Scott tries to deliver powerful monologues while making sure his suddenly buff arms are in the shot, the comedy implodes and becomes completely generic.

Nothing that Rudd and Scott do by themselves is inherently funny; they have about as much chemistry as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. It’s when they start interacting with the kids, and the immaculate supporting cast, in which the scarce laughs creep in.

Director David Wain (“Wet Hot American Summer”) casts many of his friends in small roles, which takes the heat off of the two leads for not being funny. Apatow regular Jane Lynch is the movie’s greatest offering, as she plays the founder of Sturdy Wings, a non “B.S.’er” who creates endless metaphors for her former cocaine addiction.

“Role Models” is unfortunately reminiscent of the similar “Drillbit Taylor,” an Apatow production. Both movies seemingly had it all going for them, but ultimately the comedic execution suffers from the serious tone involving kids.

Without Jason Biggs or Seth Rogen to compliment them, these “Role Models” fall flat.