Dave White
Role Models Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

...everything works here

Who’s It It: Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J. Thompson

The Basics: Two disgruntled energy drink pitchmen steal the company vehicle, crash it and, rather than spend 30 days in jail, get sentenced to 150 hours of community service being mentors to two misfit kids—one an outcast teenage Renaissance Faire-enthusiast and the other a foul-mouthed elementary school-aged tornado of bad behavior. You know how it works out, obviously. Everyone learns life lessons. But…

What’s The Deal: A formulaic movie can be lifted out of its built-in rut by making it look like it invented the formula. Almost everything works here. Rudd and Scott are brazenly awful adults who don’t like the kids they’re with, the kids are unrepentant, the laughs come quickly and the pacing is so fast and the mood so seemingly effortless that when the movie does finally stop for a bit to get heartfelt and lame, it gets hit and quit it as fast as possible before dropping another jolt of hilarious dialogue, as though the film itself is embarrassed that it even has to pause the action to deal in issues of bland morality.

How It’s Like A '70s Movie: It takes a played-out convention from that era—the Paper Moon/Bad News Bears/Exorcist-style kid with the filthy mouth—and torques it up for fresh shocks. It’s been so long since a kid character in a mainstream movie (not counting animated South Park children voiced by adult actors) has been allowed to be spew stuff this dirty that it feels new again.

Scenes-Stealing Efficiency Award: Goes to Jane Lynch (the horny electronics store manager from The 40 Year-Old Virgin) as the former drug addict-turned-child-welfare advocate who barely maintains the façade of appropriate behavior. She’s in lots of movies and usually knocks it out of the park every time, so pay attention to her career.

KISS Super-Fans, Take Note: The band is a running gag from start to finish with a great thematic payoff.

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