David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) marks his entry into the world of big-budget studio comedies with this respectably quirky buddy flick that pairs Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott (and odd as that sounds, it works) as energy-drink reps who wind up in a mentoring program as part of a community-service sentencing.
Rudd, the downtrodden pessimist, gets paired with a teenage Dungeons & Dragons nerd (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who played "McLovin" in Superbad); Scott, all sunshine and cheesy mantras, inherits a troubled nine-year-old version of Eddie Murphy. Cue the chaos, which includes a hilarious camping trip and a running Kiss gag that culminates in a battle royal in full dress regalia.
Sure, the plot moves along a predictable path, each man facing challenges and overcoming personal demons on the way to redeeming himself in the eyes of his little brother. But the movie, populated by improv/stand-up veterans in supporting roles (especially Jane Lynch as the harried ex-addict who runs the program), is more about its episodic parts than about the cinematic whole they yield. Bolstered by a witty script and Wain's talent for letting his cast do their thing, Role Models offers a nice complement to the recent spate of Judd Apatow hits. 99 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Suburbs