Directionless thirty-somethings are forced into awkward situations Discuss this article
To the casual observer, it must seem as though developmentally challenged slackers have assumed total control of the Hollywood comedy machine. After Knocked Up and Pineapple Express (to name but two), Role Models arrives as yet another tale of directionless thirty-somethings who are forced into awkward situations and stumble across the meaning of life. When this formula is poorly handled (as with the recent Zack And Miri) it can be excruciatingly shallow and crass. But when it works it can make for genuine, heartfelt comedy gold. Role Models works.
Hauled in by the cops following a rampant energy juice bender, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (a mercifully restrained Sean William Scott) are sentenced to 150 hours of community service in the company of two troubled kids: hyperactive, foul-mouthed 10-year-old Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson) and role-playing Dungeons & Dragons nerd Augie (Christopher ‘McLovin’’ Mintz-Plasse). The usual hi-jinks ensue, before everyone learns and grows and hugs, and Rudd sings a song.
So far, so predictable. But the script is tight, the jokes clever and numerous, the characters rounded and likeable and the soundtrack is studded with ’70s rock classics. Added value comes in the form of some spectacularly off-the-wall cameo appearances, most notably Jane Lynch in another brittle, worrying performance as an ex-drug addict turned protector of children.
Role Models isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, just polish it up a little. What emerges is a memorable slice of modern slapstick, with charm to spare and a touch of soul.By Tom Huddleston
Time Out Dubai,