Movie Review: Role Models

by November 11, 2008

by Omar Mazariego

Before I get into the movie itself, what’s really good with that National Guard “Citizen Soldier” recruitment music video they play before every movie these days? They even got Kid Rock to do his own National Guard recruitment video. I’m not surprised though. He risked his life by hittin’ those Pamela Anderson skins. Who’s to say he wouldn’t risk his life for America?

But in the Citizen Soldier video it’s crazy dramatic: A bunch of soldiers go and rescue a P.O.W. who’s laid up in an empty house with absolutely no security, just him in a corner looking like a sauced-up David Hasselhoff when his daughter TMZed his ass. Can that be accurate? If it’s that easy to save a P.O.W., how come Rage McCain spent half a clip with 10 fingers stuck in five finger traps? Also, in the music video they show a soldier pick up a deflated football on some battlefield and then he just stares into the nothing with a look of grief that I’ve seen on the faces of people who just found out they’ve contracted an STD. Is a deflated football that serious? Who is this guy, Joe Namath? I guess that could drive a “Joe the Plumber” soldier to the brink of insanity, but I find deflated things in my hood all the time. Deflated footballs, basketballs, baseballs (I’m still trying to figure that one out), tires, birthday balloons, wigs, booties, dreams — everything you can think of. But you didn’t see me jumping out of a helicopter trying to rescue my barber when he was kidnapped by Colombians when he didn’t pay them what he owed. Nah, I let my hair grow for damn near a year till they let him go. I was straight wolfing that whole time cause I’m a ghetto soldier, but a citizen soldier I am not. And I have no intentions on becoming one.

So, “Role Models” is a flick about two guys who sell an energy drink called Minotaur, which is so powerful it’ll make your urine glow, to high school kids. It’s a relatively simple job. One guy (Danny) tries to convince kids to substitute drug use with a can of Minotaur energy juice, while the other (Wheeler) clowns around in a Minotaur suit on stage. But while they work together they actually have two completely different views on their lives. Danny (Paul Rudd) is basically like me. He hates everything and everyone. He’s anti-social, sarcastic as hell and on the verge of falling into a deep depression. On the other hand, Wheeler (Seann William Scott) loves everything about his life and lives for the moment and for the women.

In an effort to get some kind of feeling of fulfillment from life, Danny proposes to his lawyer/wifey, Beth (Elizabeth “I’m in every 4th quarter movie of 2008” Banks), only to get Black Hawk Downed. With a torn spirit and broken heart, Danny troops on to the next Minotaur presentation and, after encouraging drug use at that high school gig, he eventually ends up driving the Minotaur truck over a school statue (after first stealing the truck back from a tow truck guy). So it’s either do a month bid or 150 hours of community service at a big brother agency called Sturdy Wings, whose founder, Gayle (Jane Lynch), is a somewhat perverted ex-fiend who’s reformed her life and dedicated it to helping young kids. Her lines in the movie were hilarious when they weren’t raw.

So knowing that Wheeler and Danny have no choice but to complete their 150 hours, she pairs Wheeler with badass Ronnie (Nate Robinson — I mean Bobb’e J. Thompson), and Danny with nerd extraordinaire Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

Ronnie’s the man. Straight up. He’s obsessed with breasts, cursing and calls Danny “Reindeer Games” because according to him, “You white. You Ben Affleck.” Hilarious. I’ve been a fan of this kid since his days on “The Tracy Morgan Show.” He was also Li’l Tupac in that horrible “Babby Daddy” movie. In my opinion, he didn’t get enough burn in this movie.

Augie, on the other hand, is the epitome of an herb. From the glasses to the cape, he’s the loser you love to root for. He lives for medieval “Lair” role-playing in public parks and has a crush on a geek who’s pretty damn cute as far as nerd standards go, you know?

(Sidenote: I wonder if those “Lair” battles in public parks are real? What grown man would participate in such idiocracy? Well, maybe my old homie Sam would. What with the red hair and thick beard, he was already halfway to looking like an old school Viking. Give him that Flava Flav helmet with the horns and I’m sure he’d enjoy ramming a foam sword into someone’s chest piece.)

Anyway, each of the big brothers has his work cut out for him. Wheeler has to figure out how to get through to a wild child who hasn’t had a big brother last more than a day, and the anti-social Danny has to figure out how he’ll reach someone who chooses to isolate himself from the real world and whose sole purpose in life is to escape to a fantasy world where geeks rule different countries and bow to an Asian king who can be found at a local burger joint.

Aside from being a comedy, this also turned out to be a soul-searching flick of sorts. While it’s almost predictable how things would unfold, the dialogue and hi jinx on the way to the end definitely made me feel I got my money’s worth. From the perversion that Gayle spews about her former life to lines like “penetrate me,” from a “dying” soldier on the battlefield who wanted to die with honor, from beginning to end this movie had me grinning if I wasn’t outright laughing my ass off.

Role Models is a film worthy of 3.5 Gangstas.

It wasn’t classic but it was definitely a good movie. And though its easy to say that Nate Robinso…I mean Bobb’e Thompson stole the show, I’ll have to say that Paul Rudd’s dry sense of humor and sarcasm helped carry the movie most of the way. (BTW, I love Nate Robinson, so don’t take that as a diss on any level. I’ve been co-signing son since he had Melo under pressure at the Garden. He’s the last reason I’m still a Knicks fan.)

What “Role Models” lacked was more character development. If they would’ve dug deeper into the minds of Ronnie and Augie and explained why they chose to be as rebellious and isolated as they were, it would’ve made the film that much better. Or they could have just added the story of one of my homies who did the big brother thing too. He took an innocent, shy teenager and taught him how to hustle, roll L’s and gamble away his boss’s earnings on cee-lo. That kid never came back to the block after that game. It’s a pretty funny story if you really break it down, but that’s neither here nor there.

Gotta love the hood.