It’s been a good week for formula comedies. With Sex Drive proving that there is life in the whole teen virgin comedy thing — and delivering the sweetest variation since the first American Pie — Role Models comes along to bring a sense of warmth and genuine belly laughs to the broad knockabout stuff.
Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) are spokesmen for a Red Bull-esque energy drink, and on a promotional tour of schools: don’t do drugs, kids, do caffeine. After a long day on their own product, with Danny already halfway to a breakdown after lawyer girlfriend Beth (Banks) has dumped him, a row with a parking warden escalates and the two face jail time. Beth gets them a deal: instead of jail time, they have to spend a month mentoring two kids as on the Sturdy Wings programme.
For Wheeler, it’s boob-obsessed sweary Ronnie (Thompson). For Danny, it’s live-action role-playing gamer Augie (McLovin legend Mintz Plasse). Because nobody said it was going to be easy – especially those who can spot a formula a mile off. Will they help the kids while helping themselves to become better people? What do you think?
Happily though, by the time the never-in-doubt resolution comes round, you’ve had big (and cynical) laughs aplenty and Wain’s handling of the same is sweet not sugary. It’s a rare broad comedy that can keep you giggling for 99 minutes AND sends you out grinning and feeling warm and fuzzy, but Role Models succeeds where many have failed. Yes, it’s juvenile, yes, there’s a reliance on dick jokes, no, it’s not one to take your mum to, but it is funny, touching, well played and quotable as hell. And, for once, not all of the good gags are in the trailer.