It seems that I currently seem to be doing a run-through on some of the "notable" comedies of the year, what with the hideous Paul Blart: Mall Cop, this film and the upcoming review for Zombieland. Anyway, new gross-out comedy in the vein of the slew of Judd Apatow releases as of late, here we have Role Models. In this film, Danny and Wheeler, played by Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott, are forced to partipate in a big brother-esque program in order to serve out their 150 hours of community service as a result of their crashing into a school statue while promoting the sales of their energy drink. Danny is paired up with Augie, an older kid who has a passion for live action role-playing games and Wheeler is paired up with Ronnie, a potty-mouthed youth with an obsession with breasts. Of course, any number of anarchic things ensue throughout the film, much to the belly-laughing pleasure of the audience. Or so the readers will find out. To start with what is good about it, the people casting the film have cast the right actors in the lead roles. Paul Rudd is an immensly likeable precence onscreen, but is also very funny, a genuinely underrated actor who plays his part quite well here. Sean William Scott too plays his role well, however, the character is more or less Stifler from American Pie with a couple of extra summers behind him. Also, Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad/McLovin fame plays his character well, which while being more or less a spinoff of McLovin, at least has a character arc which injects a bit of heart into the film, and likewise with Bobb'e J. Johnson, who injects these same qualities into a stereotypical character. Whilst otherwise these stereotypical roles may have been a problem with me, unlike many of the other gross out Apatow comedies of which it shares similarites, it does have heart and meaning to it, which does set it apart. Also, in both the comedic and serious senses, the dialogue is solidly written, making for at times quite an enjoyable film. It is rather a shame that something like this makes less money than the Judd Apatow comedies, because in many respects, it really is better. I have a hunch if Apatow's name was on the poster, the film would have made another $50 million. However, despite it's obvious goods, there are some issues involved. For example, while the script is solidly written with regards to dialogue and the development of the gags, it is unfortunately really nuts-and-bolts and predictable. I mean, let's face it, who won't know how the movie ends by about ten minutes into it? You would have to be stupid. Also, Elizabeth Banks is given a rather misdemeaning role. She is a rather funny actress, as seen in The 40-Year Old Virgin and Zack and Miri Make A Porno. Here her talents are completely underutilised and she is given the unfortunate role that is given to many young actresses, the annoying girlfriend or unfunny, serious character. On the topic of this, Jane Lynch is cracker as Gayle Sweeney in this, delivering what is the best performance in the film, a multi-faceted character who could be taken seriously but her deadpan humour is pulled off so well to the point that it can be interpreted either way. A potential nomination for Year-End Awards is at the of my mind with regards to the Best Supporting Actress award. Anyway, direction of the film is poor by David Wain. As a comedian himself, he really should know better, and at times the film does descend into moments of unfunny, uncontrolled anarchy, reminiscent of moments of the worst gross-out comedy. Ultimately in my opinion, while having some great gags and enjoyable performances, the film is condemned by it's inability to distinguish itself from any other gross-out comedy out there, but nonetheless, it is certainly a good film I could watch a second time over.
The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.6/10
The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Inbetween