Blu-Ray Review: ‘Role Models’ With Paul Rudd Good Movie, Great Blu-Ray

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HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGODavid Wain’s “Role Models” is far from a perfect comedy, but the Universal Blu-Ray release of it is one of the best of the year so far. The release of “Role Models” includes a great video transfer, entertaining series of special features, and a comedy that holds up pretty well on repeat viewing. What more do you want?

“Role Models” features a great set-up with a fantastic cast, but the film itself doesn’t quite have the follow-through that I wish director David Wain had delivered. Despite the near-miss of the entire project, the first half-hour is laugh-out-loud funny and will be more than enough to justify a rental.

Role Models will be released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Role Models will be released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal

Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott are perfectly cast, the former’s sarcastic delivery proving to be an amazing balance for the latter’s physical, usually sleazy, style. Scott has a goofy presence that works perfectly with Rudd’s more cynical, intellectual brand of humor. A lot of the film’s success can be attributed to these two underrated actor’s comic timing and chemistry.

Role Models will be released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Role Models will be released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal

Rudd plays Danny Donahue, a negative, pessimistic s.o.b. who has been driven crazy by modern slang and catch phrases like saying “A-sap” or the fact that it’s a “venti” at Starbucks when it really should be a “large”. He work’s with Scott’s Wheeler selling the energy drink “Minotaur” to high school students. When Danny realizes he’s been hocking liquid chemicals for too long for a grown man, he kind of snaps.

Danny awkwardly and unsuccessfully asks his girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) to marry him and gets into a scrape with a tow truck driver and a security guard that earns him 150 hours of community service. They spend those hours in a big brother program led by Gayle Sweeney (the hilarious Jane Lynch), where Danny is paired with the awkward, live-action role-playing fan Augie Farks (“Superbad“‘s Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Wheeler spends his time with the raunchiest pre-teen on the planet, Ronnie Shields (Bobb’e J. Thompson).

There’s a lot to like about “Role Models,” including a generally great theme about letting your freak flag fly and just being who you want to be. The entire ensemble, especially Rudd and Lynch, is fantastic. With a great first act and wonderful cast, the only problem with “Role Models” is that the set-up is essentially the entire movie. Once you realize that Augie is into live-action role-playing and that Ronnie isn’t as tough as his vocab, there’s nowhere else to go.

I kept waiting for another subplot or twist that never came. From the director of the hilariously off-kilter “Wet Hot American Summer,” I expected more than “funny but predictable”. “Role Models” is clever enough to recommend but it almost seems too easy for people as talented as Rudd and Wain. I expected a bit more. Like a lot of role models, it lets you down a bit after the first impression.

Role Models will be released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Role Models will be released on Blu-Ray on March 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal

Great Blu-Rays can make you think more fondly of the movie itself and Universal accomplishes that goal with a wonderful release for “Role Models”. The nearly fifty minutes of deleted scenes and alternate takes are surprisingly hilarious. It’s not hard to see why they were cut for the flow of the film, but some are laugh-out-loud funny, a rarity for deleted scenes. And Rashida Jones (appearing with Rudd in the upcoming “I Love You, Man”) even appears in a deleted cameo.

The deleted scenes are just the beginning of why the “Role Models” Blu-Ray delivers. The video transfer, something you wouldn’t usually notice on a comedy, is perfect. There’s depth and vibrancy to the picture that’s usually ignored in video transfers for comedy. In comparison, the audio is a little flat but never distractingly so.

A great gag reel, three more minutes of jokes in the “unrated version,” behind-the-scenes featurettes, a commentary by Wain, and Universal’s awesome U-Control, the feature that allows b-t-s access picture-in-picture as the movie plays, work together to make a collection of special features that perfectly enhance the film itself without feeling like overkill. Universal continues to be the role model when it comes to Blu-Ray special features.

‘Role Models’ is released by Universal Home Video and stars Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Jane Lynch, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J. Thompson, and Elizabeth Banks. It was written by Paul Rudd & David Wain & Ken Marino and Timothy Dowling and directed by Wain. It was released on March 10th, 2009. It is rated R and unrated.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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