Paul Rudd is Danny Donahue, an unhappy man who can’t quite pinpoint why.
He’s in a dead-end job pushing a commercial energy drink on high school kids. Seann William Scott’s (best known as Stifler in the American Pie series) Wheeler is his costumed partner.
After a break-up with his girlfriend, Donahue goes off the deep end, crashes their monster truck and the two men end up facing a jail term. It’s that or mentor kids in one of those big brother programs.
The decision is a no-brainer.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
Wheeler inherits a very angry, foul-mouthed African-American boy done by 12-year old Bobb’e J. Thompson with the scene-stealing finesse of a comedian twice his age. As expected they don’t get along at all until the boy discovers that his mentor shares his lust for parts of the female anatomy.
This is where you suspend disbelief for a bit because no doubt Wheeler would be doing serious jail time for sharing his proclivities with the kid.
Rudd’s boy is a teen hooked on a fantasy world. He only wants to play a character in one of those Middle-Ages renaissance groups. His mom and stepfather are pushing the boy to be more of a real boy. You know: sports, girls, dating, freewheeling. Their story isn’t as much fun or as funny as the comic relief provided by Wheeler and the kid.
A couple of reasons make Role Models work. Rudd’s on-screen presence is one. His disarming, boy-next-door persona makes every movie he’s in better. Rudd should make more of them.
Maybe the reason we love him so much in the few projects he does is because he does so few projects.
The second is a nice piece of writing by Rudd, director David Wain and their co-writers that give Role Models more depth than most buddy flicks but not much here is going to surprise you. On the way to the happy ending are the usual setbacks and misunderstandings as the two guys predictably bond with their charges.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language, nudity. It opens November 7 at the Carmike 12 and Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.