Back To The Feature – Role Models (2008)

Ant-Man is out now starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, a thief recruited by Hank Pym to retrieve some stolen technology. Go Back to the Feature for Role Models, also starring Paul Rudd, and see what the future Avenger was doing the year the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born.

Paul Rudd will always be Mike from Friends, a fifth Beatle to one of the most successful television shows of all time. He starred in Clueless in the nineties and was the third-best member of the legendary Anchorman quartet but has largely made a career out of being the wingman of every movie.

Role Models is a return to top billing in a slick MA buddy comedy from David Wain, a small-time but constant director that honed his skills on MadTV. He co-wrote the script with Rudd and recruited Seann William Scott to fill the rude of the lewd, childish sidekick. Scott has made a career from being stereotyped as Stifler from the American Pie franchise (a role he was only paid $8,000) and Role Models is no exception.


The entire plot hinges on Rudd’s performance and he does well to move the plot along despite his character’s determinedness to remain stationary and therefore unhappy. Everything in the film is shown through a Judd Apatow-esque adult comedy lense but the reality is Paul Rudd’s character has a breakdown, loses his girlfriend and is forced into community service to avoid jail. As his buddy/co-worker was present at the time of the breakdown he is swept up in the consequences. It’s fairly heavy source material that never really sinks in between all the Stifler-like antics, keeping the film bubbly and generally hilarious.

The community service is to mentor a child each for one hundred a fifty hours. Rudd is placed with a very young and socially awkward Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass), just over a year after his breakout role McLovin in Superbad. His character is a member of a medieval roleplaying group to the chagrin and misunderstanding of his mother, step-father and mentor. After about fifty minutes of reluctance Rudd’s character gives in and helps Mintz-Plasse thwart the group bully Ken Jeong. Rudd avoids jail and earns a conscience, allowing him to reunite with his girlfriend.

Scott on the other hand lands the rudest twelve year old to ever walk this earth, Bobb’e J Thompson. He makes Stifler looks like a saint. Thompson has consistently booked film and television gigs in everything from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 30 Rock, That’s So Raven and Elementary. He facilitates almost all of the laugh out loud moments and stops Rudd and Scott from ever feeling sorry for themselves.

The female leads are two of the funniest women in comedy: Elizabeth Banks and Jane Lynch. Recently Banks has directed Pitch Perfect 2, starred in the The Hunger Games Saga and become the poster child for Lego after starring in The Lego Movie and voicing major video game endeavour Lego Dimensions. Lynch has appeared in over forty roles under twenty years – most notably as Charlie Sheen’s psychologist on Two and a Half Men, Reed’s schizophrenic mother on Criminal Minds and her Emmy-winning role of six seasons, Coach Sue Sylvester of Glee. In Role Models the pair never miss a beat, stealing a few scenes away from the leads.

Role Models holds up well seven years after debut. There’s nothing inherently amazing about the film and there’s nothing that makes it a chore to watch. It’s Paul Rudd’s best lead role, classic Seann William Scott and a cute snapshot of some current prolific players.

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