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Role Models

June 6, 2011

Role Models (2008)
Director: David Wain
Actors: Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Jane Lynch

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Synopsis: Two men (Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott) put on community service, have to look after two troubled boys as part of their rehabilitation.

Review: Role Models is the prototype Fratpack comedy – a deceptively sentimental story about two thirty-something men struggling to reconcile their inner-boy against encroaching adult responsibilities. It is to the credit of the screenwriters (one of whom was the film’s main star – Paul Rudd) that they make this dialectic entertaining and for the most part, extremely funny. The story sets Rudd and co-star Seann William Scott on a community service program that sees them having to mentor two troubled boys (one a fantasy world-obsessed geek, the other a foul-mouthed fatherless ghetto boy). Although this set-up becomes predictable as Rudd and Scott slowly begin to have their conscience pricked by these needy kids, thankfully the script throws numerous gags and amusing set-ups along the way to keep the story from lurching into too much mawkishness. Arguably the most amusing characterisation comes from Glee‘s Jane Lynch as an ex-druggie who now runs the community service program, but still seems to bear the hallmarks and idiosyncracies of her addicted past. The only issue I have with the film is in its confused ending, where the fantasy world subplot gets an inordinately large chunk of plot time (betraying perhaps the adolescent geekiness of the filmmakers themselves), and the seeming moral about accepting adult responsibility is contradicted by a suggestion that embracing one’s inner-child – even if it’s to remain in a unrealistic cocoon – is the best therapy for life’s woes. (June 2011)

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