MOVIE REVIEW- Huggable: <i>Role Models</i> will make you laugh
If I ever wanted to hate a movie, it's Role Models. It's got a tired, formulaic, derivative plot about two guys who learn to be better men by mentoring boys, and it's got wall-to-wall homophobic and sexist dialogue to be sure no one gets the wrong idea about what kind of "mentoring" is going on.
A lot of the humor comes from a 10-year-old with a vocabulary that would make a Tourette sufferer blush, and there's a KISS motif because the main characters are fans of the one rock band I never liked.It's too stupid to be truly offensive (except to people who are offended by anything left of ‘50s sitcoms) and has too many brilliant off-the-wall gags to let you get bored. You don't know how funny a line like "Classic case of ‘Guy on the Ground'" can be until you hear it in context, and you don't want to be the last in your crowd to learn what "whispering eye" means.
Those who think Judd Apatow's comedies have lost a lot of their zip this year will find some of it here, along with a couple of members of Apatow's stock company. But the guiding force is director David Wain (The Ten, Wet Hot American Summer), who brings along his buddies from The State, the sketch comedy series of 15 years ago that wasn't a big hit but won't completely die.
Among Wain's co-writers is star Paul Rudd. He plays Danny, who, with a costumed Wheeler (Seann William Scott), has been touring schools for 10 years, telling kids to drink Minotaur, an energy drink, instead of doing drugs. Danny and Wheeler are barely friends, but as the genre requires, have a bromance going.
Danny also has a romance with Beth (Elizabeth Banks), a lawyer who lives with him. Wheeler plays the field; his motto: "Hit it and quit it." Having an early midlife crisis at 35, Danny is depressed and irritable most of the time. When he impulsively proposes to Beth because he needs a change, she breaks up with him instead. (Since Banks' recent onscreen romantic options have been Seth Rogen and George W. Bush, maybe she should have thought it through better.)
Acting out leads to a run-in with the law, and the guys are given 150 hours of community service in lieu of 30 days in jail. They're sent to Sturdy Wings, a Big Brother-type organization founded and run by Gayle Sweeny (Jane Lynch, given more chance than usual to cut loose), who traded in her other addictions for an addiction to charity work.
"Bigs" are paired with "littles" at Sturdy Wings, and our heroes are given tough cases. Wheeler draws Ronnie (Bobbe J. Thompson), the aforementioned foul-mouthed fifth-grader, whose previous bigs haven't lasted more than a day. That he's got a hot mom (Nicole Randall Johnson) doesn't escape Wheeler's attention, but the movie doesn't go there.
Danny gets a relatively big little: Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, not as fresh and unexpected as when he played McLovin in Superbad, but still amusing), who comes out of his shell only for LAIRE, a medieval role-playing game with weekly tournaments. His mother (Kerri Kenney-Silver) and stepfather (Ken Marino) hate his obsession and constantly tear down the only thing that gives him any self-esteem at all.
No, it doesn't sound like much. The plot won't give you any surprises, and the dirty talk isn't as creative as in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but Role Models will make you laugh.
It gets its points across without going overboard on sentiment, but it's still a movie you'll want to hug– so you'd better pay attention to the demonstration of proper and improper ways of hugging in the Sturdy Wings orientation scene.