Role Models - DVD Review

'a film that’s funny with a heart and some intelligent wit as opposed to funny with a penis and some drugs'

I can’t claim to be a Judd Apatow fan. To me, his films seem like high-concept mush which provides an excuse for a star or two to deliver some purile humour. There’s also his rather annoying tendency to cast the same actors in roles that are extremely similar to their last role which generally leads to a feeling of ‘haven’t we seen this before?’ The prime example here is Jonah Hill in Superbad quickly followed by Jonah Hill in Knocked Up. Same character? I think so. Good actor? I think not.

Having said that an easy watch and a bit of humour is always welcome round these parts and I did find myself warming to Knocked Up by its end although having recently watched Pineapple Express I can’t say the same, the latter certainly being another example of ‘lets get this guy right… no wait… two guys! And they’re in trouble right with school bullies… no wait… drug dealers, yeah that would be cool. And then loads of cool s**t happens!’ Anyway… sidetracked again…

Role Models for me, fell firmly in the Knocked Up area of Apatow’s stables funny. This is a film that’s funny with a heart and some intelligent wit as opposed to funny with a penis and some drugs. The repetition of characters does occur although this film’s main reappearance is that of a previously un-Apatow related character: Stifler.

Likeable and charming as Sean William Scott is, he hasn’t exactly shown great dramatic range. However, in using Wheeler to bring us Stifler Mark 2, Scott brings about the resurgence of a cult icon and his oft-charming antics are still funny and appealing whilst showing an element of maturity that lifts him past purile. How much longer Scott can get away with this is yet to be seen but whilst he can we should just smile and go along for the ride.

In the lead Paul Rudd excels and with a co-writing credit to go with his acting one, a lot of the credit for the film’s success must go down to him. Additionally to him Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Bobb’e J Thompson frequently steal the show as the two youngsters our un-likely heroes are shackled with. Thompson in particular is gifted which the foul-mouthed character of Ronnie and doesn’t miss a chance to hit the jokes with perfect comic timing.

Role Models then, is by far the best thing I’ve seen to come out of Apatow-Ville. The jokes are intelligent and witty while the plot never meanders and never misses a chance to create a viable problem for the leads to overcome. The characters too are believable and varied (witness Jane Lynch’s Gale, who never fails to make a scene awkward) which bucks the trend. In fact the cast and production team doesn’t have an Apatow in sight which perhaps hints at the direction the stable should take if it isn’t going to fall down the hole of outputting derivative genre pieces for all the Stifler wannabes.

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