It was surely an evolutionary moment, on a par with us progressing from Cro-Magnon man or whatever to modern man, when the post-American Pie brigade bought a ticket to the modern world and started making movies like Knocked Up, films that could see beyond the end of their nose/bell-end.

Tempering it for a unisex audience and bringing in some form of emotional resonance, it meant that the teen comedy could sustain past the frat fraternity.

Fittingly, two of the doyens of the genre, American Pie’s Seann William Scott and Knocked Up’s Paul Rudd, have linked arms for this knockabout piece of heartwarming fluff.

The unruly pair make a living as energy drink reps, visiting schools to pimp the drinks as an alternative to drugs. Bored of his life and breaking up with his lawyer girlfriend, Danny (Rudd) flips out while in a school and gets himself and Wheeler (Scott) arrested.

Offered community service as an alternative to being prison bitches, the pair are sent to Sturdy Wings, a charity organisation where outcast kids are given adult pals to help them deal with their problems.

Given a role-playing geek and a foul-mouthed black kid under their tutelage, suddenly prison doesn’t seem such a bad option, until Wheeler and his bad-ass charge Ronnie discover a shared love of breasts and Danny gets dragged into the world of live-action role-playing by his kid Augie.

After the pair take their eyes off the ball and screw up, the kids’ parents kick off and the boys face prison. Fortunately, this is Hollywood, the boys have one last fateful chance to make it all right and tie up all the loose ends.

Role Models is so suavely produced that it takes a mean sod to find anything wrong with it. It’s so tidily constructed that it almost feels like it was made in a test tube – the neatness and precision of the plotting, the spot-on casting, and particularly the way it ensures that the filth is played off against the more touchy-feely morality are all impressive, but it’s the characters that make it truly worth a squint.

As well as the sound leads, the support characters are pure quality and steal all the killer lines – most notably young Ronnie, who comes across as Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes relocated to The Wire, and Gayle the Sturdy Wings manager, who is David Brent channelled by a crack whore.

Price when reviewed:

Role Models hits all the right spots – smut fans will have no complaints about how filled their boots are by the end of it, while common-or-garden movie fans will readily get sucked in too.

As smart as it is dumb, Role Models is a nailed-on winner that’s a riot from start to finish.

Rating: 15
Starring: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Bobb’e J Thompson.
Directed by: David Wain

Extras: deleted scenes, bloopers, commentary

Sections TV