Sunday, November 9, 2008

Role Models

Director David Wain and star Paul Rudd (along with co-star Ken Marino and Timothy Dowling) co-wrote the script about two unlikely mentors so if the movie has the feel of the juvenile raunch and crudeness that often accompanies a gathering of guys unfettered by the restraints of civility, that's probably why.

There's nothing all that surprising about this formulaic story of a pair of mismatched co-workers who--through a predictable series of circumstances--end up as the "big brothers" for two equally mismatched kids. The trajectory follows the standard buddy comedy: awkward first meeting, the bonding moment, the blow-up and fall-out and the inevitable reconciliation

But for the most part, the formula works.

Paul Rudd plays Danny, a curmudgeonly Bud Abbott to Seann William Scott's Wheeler, an unrepentant manchild Lou Costello sidekick. But story really revolves around the relationship with Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Augie Farks and Bobb'e J. Thomspon as Ronnie. Mintz-Plasse is especially effective in another McLovin-like role of a shy, nerdy role-player whose parents wish he was more "normal." (Note to parents: If you want your kid to grow up to be an introverted geek, name them "Augie." That's a name that will get you beat up on the playground if I ever heard one...)

The whole role-playing shtick figures prominently in the story--as does a great set-up and payoff featuring the band, KISS. There's a lot of profanity sprinkled throughout--hence the R rating. But there's also a lot of heart. Which creates a bit of a conundrum: one on hand you've got an uplifting family movie about following your heart, on the other hand it's way too obscene to take the young ones to see it.

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