"I'll recommend you see Role Models. I'm guessing you could use a laugh."
Role Models could have been another formulaic comedy, fresh off the assembly line. Instead, the work of Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott here is worthy of praise and one of the funnier films this year. Not the funniest, that's still Tropic Thunder, but it's certainly in the conversation. I think it probably comes down to the writing. Put funny material on a page and give it to funny actors and you're probably most of the way towards making a great comedy. Innovative, right? Ghost Town was pretty good at that too, come to mention it.
The set-up is simple. Scott and Rudd play traveling presenters for a product called Minotaur. They travel around to schools and tell the kids to stay off drugs ... and get on their energy drink instead. Rudd gets into an argument with his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks, who seems to be in every movie released these days) and, after some rash acts of rage, finds himself at the mercy of the court. Which is how he ends up at Sturdy Wings, as the "big" role model to a 16-year-old obsessed with medieval role-playing. Throw in William Scott and his little terror and you've got your plot stew.
And so, for let's say 80 of the 99 minutes, Role Models hums along with the premise that Rudd is a detached bastard while William Scott is a sex-crazed maniac whose heart is in the right place. The "littles" play their parts to perfection too, though you wonder how they got away with including Bobb'e J. Thompson in the lewd and adult-level dialogue. As it turns out, quite often they filmed with him not in the scene so he wasn't subject to all of the language. Still, it comes off as seamless and enjoyable. Like most solid comedies you don't always see the laughs coming.
Thus, I'd say the battle for second place comedy of the year is between this and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Sure, Role Models dissolves into the common method of "it all has to matter" much harder than Sarah Marshall did, but it's also working with a more innovative format (with kids) than the typical rom-com. So it's close. No matter how I end that particular debate in my own head I'll recommend you see Role Models. I'm guessing you could use a laugh.