‘Role Models’ vs. prison

Associated Press

Most people would be eager to serve 150 hours of community service rather than 30 days in the slammer, unless those people are Danny and Wheeler.

Danny Donahue’s (Paul Rudd) “glass is half empty” cynicism reaches and all time high after his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks in her umpteenth role this year) dumps him. An epic meltdown involving a tow truck at a high school finds the adolescent adults in a tight spot. Danny and party-hardy bohemian Wheeler (Sean William Scott) are presented with the ultimatum of either bunking up in jail or logging 150 hours at a Big Brother-like organization called “Sturdy Wings.” They choose the latter and pair up with their “littles”.

Danny gets Middle-Earth wannabe Oggie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Wheeler gets a handful with foul-mouthed, girl crazy Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson).

As they count down the court ordered hours, Danny and Wheeler struggle to relate to their “littles” and to Sweeny (a scene stealing Jane Lynch) a head case of a leader at Sturdy Wings who refuses to take any “BS” from them. But soon enough, the two pairs find themselves more similar than they ever predicted.

Rudd, champion of dry humor, has made a living the past couple of years stealing countless scenes in R rated comedies like “40 Year Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. He commands every scene with his overbearing sarcasm so well that it’s hard to believe this is his first lead role.

Scott, who should get an honorary Oscar for playing the same character in every movie, yet again portrays sex crazed wild-man Stifler from “American Pie”. Only this time around it’s enjoyable to watch Stifler finally grow up some.

What’s alarmingly irritating about “Role Models” is Plasse; the only true competition for Scott in the record for number of times typecast. The difference is Scott has been mildly amusing over the years, and Plasse, only his second film in to playing “McLovin”, is already more annoying. But this seems a moot point when you look at the whole picture.

“Role Models” follows the new age philosophy of Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin), which is not to just go for the laughs. Make it so raunchy that people laugh till they cry. But never lose sight of the story while doing it.

Grade: B