By MISSAK ARTINIAN
I went to the movie theatre prepared to watch Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” this week. However, I missed the 7:45 showing, and decided to take a risk with a comedy called “Role Models” instead.
Although I can’t speak on behalf of the former comedy just yet, I can admit that I’m glad I missed it because “Role Models” is genuinely funny, thoroughly entertaining and surprisingly touching.
Life sucks when it has no purpose. That’s how Danny (Paul Rudd, “Knocked Up”) feels with his. He and his partner, Wheeler (Seann William Scott, “American Pie”), make a living selling Minotaur Energy-Drinks and educating public school students to stay off drugs by preaching the message “Stay off drugs! Drink Minotaur!”
When Danny can’t stand his life anymore, he tells an auditorium full of students to enjoy life, even if it means smoking a joint. After getting into some more trouble, they have a choice between 30 days of jail or 150 hours of community service. They choose community service because Wheeler is afraid of getting raped.
Right from the outset, we see that Danny and Wheeler are not very good role models. At least not yet.
Both men are court-ordered to serve Sturdy Wings, a committee that brings the community’s youth together with adults to build quality one-to-one relationships. Danny is assigned to Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, “Superbad”), who wears a cape, carries around a Styrofoam sword and role-plays a live-action fantasy game called Lair.
Danny, on the other hand, is assigned to an obnoxious, potty-mouthed Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson), who’s obsessed with “boobies.”
Both Danny and Wheeler are initially reluctant to build a real relationship with the child they’re assigned to and treat them like a parent would. But they soon come through.
The dynamic between the characters is interesting. Wheeler and Ronnie parallel each other with their outgoing personalities. The comedy builds on this relationship. Wheeler teaches Ronnie the meaning behind K.I.S.S.’s song, “Love Gun,” by explaining, “The gun is the dick!”
He also takes Ronnie to parties and teaches him the art of looking at “boobies” without actually looking at them. Danny is like the father that Ronnie never had.
Danny and Augie, on the other hand, stand as stark contrasts with one other. Danny is serious and pessimistic, whereas Augie actually enjoys his life in the fantasy world of Lair. His parents and counselor are unsupportive, though. Danny grows the most as a character and becomes a true role model when he stands up against Augie’s parents and helps Augie create a new country, K.I.S.S.-My-Anthia, when he is banned from Zarinthia.
Both kids are the comedic backbone of the movie. Ronnie has clever, sometimes random and almost always raunchy aside comments accompanied by funny facial expressions in almost all of his scenes. He’s the star of the movie.
The world of Lair that Augie introduces Danny to serves a comedic function as well. It’s a world full of goblins, elves, wizards and other people dressed up in ridiculous medieval costumes. But what makes it funny is the way they take the game seriously.
When you die by the thrust of a Styrofoam axe, you are dead until someone revives you with magic potion, or at least until the next round.
If you’re looking for a good laugh and a movie with a positive message about friendship, then “Role Models” won’t disappoint. It’s a rare kind of comedy that is actually funny.