Role Models DVD Review

Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
Okay, so the cover of Role Models looks pretty interesting, but I have a few issues.  First, it really misrepresents the characters.  Sure these guys are not really adults that kids should look up to, but the guys are really sitting around getting hammered and pissing on walls.  I also do not like the fact that they only included the three main characters, and not Ronnie, the over the top cuss machine that was every bit as important to the movie as Augie.

The menu is actually pretty good for a relatively static menu.  It is colorful, and features screen shots of the main characters spinning in and out of the screen with a guitar heavy background (after reading that last sentence, it sound worse than it is.)  It worked in an odd sort of way.

Features: 9/10

  • Deleted Scenes & Alternate Takes – There are about 25 minutes of deleted and alternative takes from the movie, and they are excellent.  This is the type of extra that is funny, interesting, and doesn’t take itself too serious.  There are lots of scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut that were still good to watch, including a scene where Elisabeth Banks goes off on Paul Rudd that I would have liked in the movie.  The deleted scenes run the gamut from nudity to cursing to just plain insanity.  They were excellent.
  • Bloopers – The blooper reel was actually pretty funny.  With these types of movies, where there is a lot of improvisation going on, there tends to be a few gems in the blooper reel area.  These were funny for the most part, and my particular favorite includes a line said by Wheeler in which it comes off that it is sad that he can’t “get closer” to the little kids.  As far as bloopers go, these were good.
  • In Character & Off Script – In Character & Off Script is a crazy little set of in character interviews with 3 of the movie’s characters.  These are are over the top interviews with Martin, one of the “Bigs” from the Sturdy Wings group, and Kuzzik and Davith of Glencracken, from the L.A.I.R.E. (Live-Action Interactive Role-Playing Explorers).  Very, very funny and original stuff.
  • On The Set Of Role Models – In another bizarre and hysterical extra, this one starts off with nipple flipping and curse words.  This is not your average behind the scenes feature, and it is refreshing, funny, and crazy.
  • Feature Commentary With Director David Wain – David Wain is a funny guy with a twisted sense of making movies, and his audio commentary was good.  There was a lot of information given about the movie itself.  It was a good overall commentary that kept a good pace and did not have a lot of dead air.  My only complaint was that with this plethora of funny actors, perhaps a few of them should have been involved in the commentary, to spice it up a bit.
  • Game On: Creating a Role Playing World – This is a 10 minute long extra describing the L.A.I.R.E. battle scenes from the movie, and how they came about.  It includes the cast talking about how strange the whole role-playing battles are, and how the battles were presented on screen.  It is just as funny as the actual scenes themselves, and I really liked the talk of the “death scenes.”

The Movie: 9/10
Ok.  so I did it.  I really struggled with what score to give Role Models.  I have to admit that I did not expect too much from the movie.  Before I saw the movie, I had in my mind that this was gonna be one of those comedy movies that tried too hard to be funny, and was not.  I was wrong.  I loved the film, and I struggled about whether I could give Role Models a 9, or play it safe with an 8.  After watching the movie again I went with the 9.  This is a really funny movie with really great characters.  Like I said, I loved this movie, and I am not sure that everyone else will feel the same way.

Role Models is a movie about Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Sean William Scott), two guys who work for an energy drink company, selling the caffeine bombs to kids by dressing up like a minotaur and going to schools and talking about staying off of drugs, as they pound the drinks to stay awake.  Danny ends up getting frustrated at his dead-end job, and in a moment of semi clarity, he proposes to his lawyer girlfriend Beth (Elisabeth Banks), who ends up dumping him because he is cranky and kind of a prick.

After getting dumped and getting arrested, the two guys find themselves facing jail time, and they end up having Beth get them a plea deal where they are forced to log in 150 hours of community service.  To get their hours, they sign up to be mentors for two troubled teens at a local organization, run by the ex-drug addict Gayle (played perfectly by Jane Lynch).  Of course Danny gets assigned to mentor Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse from Superbad fame), who wear a cape and is involved in L.A.I.R.E., a dungeon and dragon-type role playing group.  Obviously Danny struggles at first to find common ground with Augie, and the 150 hours seems like it could take months to achieve.

Wheeler is assigned to Ronnie, a young African-American boy whose first words to Wheeler after he is assigned to mentor the boy are “no, I will not take my pants off.”  Ronnie cusses like a sailor, and wants nothing to do with Wheeler, so again the struggle is on to make the arrangement work.

The movie then focuses on Danny and Wheeler trying to get their hours, while suffering through the torture of being inept role models, and the young boys demonstrating that they are not troubled, but just actually need some help.  As the story unfolds, numerous side characters are introduced, and these are the gems that make the movie work so well.  Everyone really adds to the mix, and the humor, and the movie itself unfolds (while in a somewhat formulaic manner) by getting the “Bigs” and the “Littles” to find a common ground that benefits both.

The DVD comes with the unrated version, and the theatrical version both on the same disc.  The unrated version is just a few minutes longer, and it only includes a few extra scenes that really were not all that crazy.  Overall I thought Role Models was a very pleasant surprise, and it will surely  be one that I watch again and again, as long as my 3 year-old son is asleep or in the other room.

Audio & Video: 7/10
The video was pretty good on the standard disc.  I really noticed the bright colors and I thought the video was sharp throughout the movie.  This is one of those films that you do not necessarily need to see in high definition (though it can’t hurt) but the standard DVD looked pretty good regardless.  It is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.

The audio was very clean also, and they did a great job in using ambient sound through the rear speakers for quite a bit of the movie.  for a comedy, I was very impressed with the overall audio presentation, when a lot of these types of movies just seem to forget about the whole “surround sound thing.”  The audio was presented in Dolby digital 5.1 Surround Sound.

Value: 8/10
Role Models is one of those comedy movies that I can watch over and over again, kind of like Old School or Euro Trip.  I did not expect it to be all that great, and I was very surprised that the film was so entertaining.  I have really grown to like Paul Rudd (a fellow Kansas City native) and I thought he did another amazing job with this movie, as did the rest of the cast.  It has the feel of an ensemble cast, and everyone was great in their own way.  Role Models was just a funny, if not slightly formulaic comedy romp, and I highly recommend it.

Overall Score 9/10