Model citizens

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If you're not a fan of live-action medieval role-playing, you might want to steer clear of Role Models.

It's the story of two slackers (Paul Rudd as Danny and Seann William Scott as Wheeler) who bargain for community service rather than jail time after an energy-drink-fueled rampage and end up getting paired with two kids through the Big Brothers-esque program Sturdy Wings.

Wheeler gets Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson), a potty-mouthed fifth-grade problem child, while Danny ends up with nerdy Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin), a 16-year-old obsessed with mock swordplay.

Director David Wain is the funny man behind the great Wet Hot American Summer and the not-so-successful The Ten, or you may know him better from The State and Stella. Sadly, Role Models doesn't approach the level of absurd comedy found in those TV outings.

Most of the laughs come from early scenes following Danny and Wheeler's pre-mentor escapades, and a memorable Jane Lynch as the former druggie now ruling Sturdy Wings with an iron fist.

But there's plenty that's not funny, like tired Starbucks jokes (does anybody really still harbor rage against the word "venti"?) and an over-reliance on mining laughs from Ronnie's obsession with breasts. It doesn't help that shortish Thompson looks like he could be much younger, making his foul-mouthed tirades more disturbing than comical.

Worst, entirely too much time is spent in medieval fantasy world, which is less amusing than the filmmakers think it is.

"Role Models"

Opens Friday