Sunday, February 10, 2013

Role Models (2008) ***

Pay attention, alchemists, I have found the formula for comedy gold.  “Wet, Hot, American Summer” cast reunion?  Check.  Jane Lynch?  Check.  Stiffler?  Check.  A little Judd Apatow flavoring, including Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin from “Superbad”)?  Check!  Mix well and poof!  Start laughing your ass off.  This little gem from director David Wain (“Wanderlust” “Wet, Hot, American Summer”) isn’t exactly movie-of-the-year material, but it is plenty of hilarious fun.
Paul Rudd plays Danny,  a salesman who spends his day ironically giving anti-drug speeches and promoting an energy drink while his co-worker Wheeler (Sean William Scott) cavorts in a minotaur costume.  Despite having a gorgeous lawyer girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), the uselessness of his career has Danny in a slow-burning depression.  When his girlfriend gets sick of it and dumps him, Danny flips out and winds up getting himself and Wheeler in legal trouble.  They are given a choice: 30 days in jail or “volunteering” in Sturdy Wings, a Big-Brother-type program.  Obviously, they go with the mentoring program.  Danny gets paired with Augie (Mintz-Plasse), an odd teen who is obsessed with a fantasy-role-playing game.  Wheeler gets stuck with a foul-mouthed little badass named Ronny.
What happens after that?  You can probably guess.  Things start out stand-offish, then the guys and the kids gradually warm up to each other, and eventually everyone learns a lesson about life.  The plot is not the point.  The point is an entire herd of talented comics being hilarious.  The movie features several actors from the old MTV show “The State,” including director David Wain, and I love those guys.  Jane Lynch is excellent, as usual.  Bobb’e J. Thompson is an excellent little, foul-mouthed child actor.  Ken Jeong, from the show “Community,” puts in a appearance as a smarmy king.  Really, everyone in the movie cracks me up.  “Role Models” is not quite up to the standards of “Wanderlust,” but it’s still a great time.

3 stars

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