It might surprise you to know that Judd Apatow has nothing to do with Role Models.
It might surprise you to know that Judd Apatow has nothing to do with Role Models. The casting of Apatow regulars Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad’s McLovin), not to mention the film’s smutty script, may conspire to give that impression, but Role Models casts aside the laziness that has afflicted Apatow’s troupe in recent films to deliver a surprisingly funny, warm comedy.
Rudd and Seann William Scott play Danny and Wheeler, two underachieving thirty-somethings scraping a living shilling energy drinks to schoolkids. Following a brush with the law, the pair are forced to do community service acting as big brother mentors to two problem kids (Mintz-Plasse and scene-stealing newcomer Bobb’e Thompson). Will the quirky kids teach Danny and Wheeler responsibility and humility? Will Danny’s estranged girlfriend come back to him as a result? Will Stifler get laid? If you’re unsure of the answers, then you’re watching the wrong film.
Although the film does offer some broad sex comedy staples, its funniest moments are in its loose, easy-natured (though foul-mouthed) dialogue and silly jokes. Rudd, who shares a writing credit, has obviously learned from the mistakes of some of the Apatow acolytes. Gone are the laboured improvisation, quirky cameos and meandering plot lines of films like Pineapple Express, in exchange for a well-structured, satisfying romantic comedy. Yes, the charming Banks is cast in a thankless role as Danny’s girl, and yes, there are the usual sophomoric obsessions with American pop culture, but Role Models matches the lightweight fun of The 40-Year-Old Virgin in that it gives you a few belly laughs, allows you to feel for its characters, and sends you out with a smile on your face.
After the lacklustre Zack and Miri, can we really watch another Apatow knock-off?
Two likeable leads, funny jokes and a swearing 10-year-old. What’s not to like?
A superior if lightweight date movie with genuine laughs and heart to match.