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Role Models sets an example



GENRE: Inspirational big-buddy film with crotch jokes

THE PITCH: To avoid jail time, two energy drink reps – depressed Danny (Paul Rudd) and horny Wheeler (American Pie's Seann William Scott) – must complete 150 hours of community service as mentors to fantasy geek Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and rebellious 10-year-old Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson).

MONEY SHOTS: Danny and Wheeler's initial mishap involves a bull-bedecked truck crash and a horse statue. As the head of the Sturdy Wings mentoring program, Jane Lynch suggestively plays with her bagel dog. Ronnie's paper-plate craft projects include "Beyonce pouring sugar on my dick" and "Martin is gay for robots." Danny uses his powers of dickishness against Augie's pushy parents. Danny and Wheeler don classic rock outfits when they partake in Augie's battle royale. Augie takes on the jerky king (Ken Jeong) of the fantasy realm.

BEST LINE: "I bet if I suggested a game of Quidditch, he'd cum in his pants," Danny says, of his first impression of Augie. Ronnie has an amusing running joke comparing Danny to Ben Affleck, as in, "Suck it, Reindeer Games."

WORST LINE: When Danny tries to reconcile with his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), she says, "This is not us. We have not been us for a while, because you are not you." And Banks delivers the line like it's the height of seriousness. (By the way, does Banks star in every movie now, or what?)

FASHION STATEMENTS: Thanks to the costumed role playing (what the kids today call "cosplay"), Augie and his pals constantly wear homemade capes and other Medieval Times-style battle attire. The back end of a horse, on wheels, makes the wearer look like a centaur. Extending the film's mythological interests, Wheeler serves as the costumed mascot for Minotaur energy drink, and a kid asks, "Where can I pick one of those up, the gay zoo?"

FLESH FACTOR: Scott appears nude, from the back, several times. Two women appear topless in separate trysts. Between the skin and the nonstop raunch, you can tell director David Wain didn't really sweat the PG-13 rating.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Wheeler abandons Ronnie at a party while the boy plays Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer. While camping, Wheeler takes Ambien for the trippy side effects, and Danny assumes Lunesta as his fantasy name, but somehow I don't think Ambien and Lunesta paid for the privilege.

MP3-TO-BE: Electric Light Orchestra's "Mister Blue Sky" accompanies a learning-to-get-along montage. Wheeler's KISS obsession could inspire a revival of such tunes as "Love Gun" and "Beth."

SIX DEGREES OF JUDD APATOW: Rudd (who co-wrote), Lynch, Banks, Jeong and "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse have all had memorable roles in at least one Judd Apatow production. Most of the off-screen talents, however, are better known for such TV comedies as "Stella," "The State" and "Reno 911."

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Ronnie subplot gets a real short shrift by resorting to a cute, profane African-American kid for easy laughs. Otherwise, Role Models' uproarious one-liners make up for its uninspired visual style and sentimental streak. Plus, in a just world, Lynch would get a supporting actress Oscar nod in a role that's like a female Jack Nicholson. She's the real role model here.

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