Role Models: By Dumbasses, For Dumbasses
There is something so satisfying about a dumbass comedy, made by dumbasses about dumbasses for dumbasses. I used to live for this shit, way back when (not that long ago). And if you're going to watch a dumbass comedy, you could do worse than one from the remnants of The State (David Wain, Kerri Kenney, Joe Lo Truglio) and their attendant pals (Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks)—a comedy crowd that's always been a few rungs higher on the smart/funny/weird ladder than, say, Road Trip or Dude, Where's My Car? or, I don't know, Spring Break Boob Poop Party Train Poop Train 2: It's Boobies Time! (coming soon).
Role Models is a dumbass comedy. Rudd (doing his best down-and-out John Cusack) is Danny, a spokesman for Minotaur Energy Drink, a job that involves driving around in a truck shaped like a Minotaur with a KISS-obsessed dumbass in a Minotaur costume ("No one loves KISS. Paul Stanley is sick of KISS"). Danny hates being a spokesman for Minotaur Energy Drink. He is in a rut. To get out of his rut, he proposes to his girlfriend (Banks), who responds by telling him that he's a dick and "I'm not interested in becoming Mrs. Dick-in-a-Rut."
Then circumstances occur (wacky wacky wacky!), and Danny and the KISS-obsessed dumbass (Seann William Scott) have to become Role Models to two troubled children. One is a black child who swears a lot and is irascible! The other is a nerd who dresses up like a warrior named Bluffkin, goes to the park, and hits other nerds with a fake sword.
A lot (honestly, most) of it is dumb. The whole thing doesn't quite connect—it lacks confidence, maybe a sign of a first-time screenwriter. (It's Rudd's screenwriting debut.) But Role Models contains some fucking brilliant comic performances, from Lo Truglio (as a blustery medieval warrior who never breaks character) to Christopher Guest favorite Jane Lynch, who is a goddamn genius in everything she does. And Rudd makes some funny, sly observations about language and literality and the amount of nonsense people spew every hour of every day. When the irascible child throws popcorn in Danny's face, A. D. Miles (have you seen his standup? You should) shouts, "I've heard of popcorn in the face, but this is ridiculous!" When the KISS-obsessed dumbass passes out naked on the ground, Miles says, "Classic case of Guy on the Ground." I laughed. But then again, I am a dumbass.