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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Role Models DVD Review

ROLE MODELS - A Universal Films Release


On DVD: March 10th, 2009

Rated Canada 14A for coarse language, nudity, and sexual content.

Running time: 139 minutes; (unrated version: 142 minutes).

David Wain (dir.)

Seann William Scott as Wheeler

Paul Rudd as Danny Donahue

Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Augie Farks

Bobb’e J. Thompson as Ronnie Shields

Elizabeth Banks as Beth

Jane Lynch as Gayle Sweeny

Ken Jeong as King Argotron

Ken Marino as Jim Stansel

Kerri Kenney as Lynette (as Kerri Kenney Silver)

A.D. Miles as Martin Gary

Joe Lo Truglio as Kuzzik

Matt Walsh as Davith of Glencraken

Nicole Randall Johnson as Karen

Alexandra Stamler as Esplen (as Allie Stamler)

Carly Craigg as Connie

Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes & Alternate Takes, Bloopers, In Character & Off Script (Hysterical improvised moments with the cast), On The Set of Role Models, Feature Commentary with director David Wain, And More!


Role Models Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Danny and Wheeler, (Paul Rudd and Seann William-Scott), are spokesman for Minotaur, who go around in their “Minotaur mobile”, with Wheeler in a Minotaur suit, selling it to elementary school kids, with the tagline “don’t do drugs, do Minotaur!”. When they are arrested for crashing their truck on school property, they either go to jail, or spend 150 hours with the mentorship program Sturdy Wings. Well, they choose Sturdy Wings, even though at times they feel like they should have chosen prison. Danny gets paired up with Augie, (Christopher Mintz Plasse), a lonely 15 year-old who is perpetually stuck in the world of LAIRE, a fantasy role-playing game. Wheeler gets paired with Ronnie, (Bobb’e J. Thompson), a ten year-old who, at times, can swear better than someone twice his age. Role Models is is fun and hilarious, and the last bit of it which takes place at the battle royale in the world of LAIRE, is in a way brilliant. It is a large scale battle scene done with fake swords, and over the top, acted out deaths. It is strange and hilarious, mainly because all the characters take it so seriously.

Paul Rudd is, as usual, wonderfully understated in his role. Delivering a sarcastic line and making it hilarious. Even when his character is angry, he’s still likable. Seann William-Scott is rude and hilarious. The two young actors both deliver great performances, creating hilarious, original and memorable characters. Jane Lynch as Gayle Sweeney, the director of Sturdy Wings, delivers another hilarious and brilliant performance. Elezibeth Banks is also good playing Danny’s girlfriend. This is the sixth film she was in in 2008. Role Models is an hilarious feel-good comedy, and I urge you to go and watch it.

The DVD of Role Models, includes approximately 55 minutes of special features, over twenty minutes of which is deleted scenes. It also includes bloopers, in character & off script, (which are funny improvised bits with some of the characters), on the set of Role Models featurette, feature commentary with director David Wain, and a featurette on LAIRE.


Role Models Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

I really enjoyed Role Models. Parts of it were quite rude, but I am glad that it was able to come above and beyond it’s sort of tough exterior, and have a nice heart underneath.

The story follows Danny, (Paul Rudd), and Wheeler, (Seann William Scott), two guys working for a company that sells the energy drink ‘Minotaur’. Their job involves selling the drink to schools under the slogan, ‘Don’t do drugs - Drink Minotaur!’, with Wheeler dressed up in a giant Minotaur suit, while Danny does the spiel for the drink. Danny drives the Minotaur truck, which in an attempt to prevent it from being towed from a ‘no-parking’ zone, ends with both Danny and Wheeler facing either 30 days jail-time, or 150 hours of community service. Choosing community service, they are ordered by the judge to go to ‘Sturdy Wings’ for their hours, (his favorite charity for various reasons...), where they will be ‘Bigs’ for a couple of ‘Littles’. Danny’s ‘Little’ is named Augie, (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who plays L.A.I.R.E., a fantasy role-playing game in the local park, and Wheeler’s ‘Little’ is Ronnie, (Bobb’e J. Thompson), who runs off a gutter mouth, and can’t stop focusing his eyes where they shouldn’t be.

Oddly, they actually turn out to be good fits for the kids, each being able to sympathize with why they act the way they do. At first wanting to just get their hours over with, they end up actually liking the community service that they were initially forced to do. Definitely, my favorite part of the movie was the last half when everything is leading up to the L.A.I.R.E. ‘Battle Royale.’ The role-playing game is great to watch, as many of the players take their parts so seriously, all the while acting like strange knights, creatures, etc. from medieval times.

This movie is worth buying. It is the kind of movie that I would watch again, as it is a lot of fun. Like I said, while rude, it’s focus becomes something more towards the end, and that makes it stand out from other comedies in my opinion. I saw all of the special features on the disc, and I am glad that some of the deleted scenes were cut. I think I would have given it a lower rating had they been kept in there. The other features, particularly about Sturdy Wings, or L.A.I.R.E., were quite funny and entertaining. There are enough good extras on the disc to make it worth it.


Role Models Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

When I first heard of Role Models, I did not know what to expect. But when I finally saw the movie on DVD, I realized how funny it actually is. The movie follows Danny and Wheeler, two average 30 something guys whose job is to sell Minotaur, (an energy drink), to kids in school. Their job is pretty straight forward; Danny drives the Minotaur truck, and gives the presentations, while Wheeler dresses up as a minotaur mascot. Danny hates his job, and things get even worse when Danny breaks up with his longtime girlfriend, Beth. Danny’s frustration lands him and Wheeler in hot water after accidentally crashing the Minotaur truck into a statue.

Fortunately, (or not), Beth , who is a defense lawyer, is able to keep Danny and Wheeler out of prison, by having them volunteer in a Big Brother type program called Sturdy Wings. Here, mentors, known as “bigs,” are set up with at-risk children, referred to as “littles.” The eccentric, no-nonsense manager of the program (hilariously portrayed by Jane Lynch), pairs Wheeler up with a hyperactive and potty mouthed 10 year old named Ronnie is over the top hyper and impulsive, and Augie is caught up in the medieval themed role playing world of “Laire.” Over time, the “bigs,” and “littles,” find their similarities, and teach each other important lessons about patience and love.

Despite the fact that this movie centers around kids, this is not a family movie. This dialogue, and sexual humour is very funny, but also very rude. However, this movie, despite being raunchy, is also very sweet. This movie is great throughout, and the ending is the best and funniest part. this is one movie you will want to own. (Make sure to check out the Sturdy Wings website at www.sturdywings.org). The bonus feature on this DVD are good. (be forewarned however, that some of the deleted scenes are more adult than the actual film.) The making of features are interesting, and the feature about “Laire” are hilarious. The “unrated version of the film is no raunchier than the rated version.


Role Models Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Role Models is a whole lot funnier and entertaining than I initially expected. The story revolved around two energy drink marketers (Danny and Wheeler) and their court-ordered commitment to act as role models to two troubled boys (Augie and Ronnie) at the Sturdy Wings youth program. each of the characters are quirky and funny in their own way. Jane Lynch who plays the director of Sturdy Wings is a scene stealer whenever she is on screen. Her portrayal of the slightly crazy director is extremely funny.

My favorite character however is Augie, the young man who lives through his fantasy world game, LAIRE. The relationship that develops between ‘Big’ (a Sturdy Wings term) role model, Danny and the assigned ‘Little’ (another Sturdy Wings term) Augie is touching and believable. The scenes involving the LAIRE games are very funny. The relationship between the other ‘Big’ (Wheeler) and his ‘little,’ Ronnie is also believable. Their scenes are also funny, though the humour is cruder and involves a lot more language. The story overall plays out nicely, the ending is satisfying and the final scenes involving LAIRE are very funny.

This DVD is definitely worth checking out. It’s a lot of fun though the humour is crude at times. In terms of bonus features, the only ones I enjoyed were the ones about LAIRE. Buy it or rent it, it’s your choice. Either way, it’ll be fun.


Role Models Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

In Role Models, Danny (Paul Rudd) is a pitch man and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) is a mascot for the energy drink Minotaur. Driving a horned vehicle from one school assembly to another, they promote the health benefits and charitable contributions from every $6 can sold. With no greater ambition than partying, Wheeler is happy with his job. However, at 35 Danny is bitter after 10 years of this and takes it out on his lawyer girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) who dumps him. He loses it and crashes the Minotaur Mobile, getting both him and Wheeler sentenced to 150 hours of community service for Sturdy Wings, run by Sweeny (Jane Lynch), which pairs up “bigs” with at risk “littles” for quality time. Wheeler is assigned to Ronnie (Bobb’e Thompson), a rebellious fifth-grader with a precocious gift for vulgar put-downs. Until now, no big has lasted more than one day with Ronnie, who is angry at everybody but his loving single mother. Danny’s little is Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), whose special interest is medieval live action role play (LARP), where geeks with styrofoam swords get together to talk and fight like knights (a bit like pirates, but more ancient and ceremonial). His intolerant mother and stepfather enrolled Augie in Sturdy Wings to get a life. Wheeler makes a connection with Ronnie by sharing his discrete observation skills of women and his promotion of Kiss as a band that is all about getting sex. Danny is frustrated at first with Augie’s obsession, but when Augie is kicked out of his LARP club as a result of Danny’s objection to cheating by the “king”, he and the others have to fight back.

Director David Wain has pulled together a huge cast from his stock company of improvisational actors, each serving the story in the funniest way possible. Seann William Scott has brought out his inner Stiffler. With a quirky voice that fits his stereotype, Christopher Mintz-Plasse has the sensitivity to pull his role off with credibility and respect. Jane Lynch has taken the part of a zealot with a shady past up a notch since A Mighty Wind, with delightful creepiness. The crowd scenes–the Minotaur pitches, the Sturdy Wings meetings, the keggers, the medieval battles–are each populated with a delightful mix of characters, several of which stand out. A. D. Miles (Jimmy Fallon’s new talk show head writer) as the model big Martin is the most annoying goof since the insurance salesman in Groundhog Day. Ken Jeong (MD) is the preening king surrounded by his retinue of sycophants. Joe Lo Truglio in his helmet of mail is the faithful knight Kuzzik.

In addition to the usual running commentary and on site interviews where the director and cast members praise each other, the DVD provides some deleted scenes which give us insight into the wealth of improvisatory material that had to be left out of the final film for the sake of timing and the fine balance between vulgarity and offensiveness. Both the DVD and film website also provide mockumentary-style interviews with various characters, notably Sweeny on the Sturdy Wings mock website.

Role Models is the kind of DVD that we can enjoy again and again in subsequent viewings, always finding something that we didn’t notice before.


Consensus: Role Models is a comedy, that while rude at times, has a great story underneath. It’s really funny, and the casting is spot on. This is one that you will probably want to see more than once. *** (Out of 4)

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