Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Wain|
|Produced by||Luke Greenfield|
|Written by||David Wain|
Seann William Scott
Bobb'e J. Thompson
|Music by||Craig Wedren|
|Cinematography||Russ T. Alsobrook|
|Edited by||Eric Kissack|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|November 7, 2008|
Federal Republic of Germany
Role Models is a 2008 American comedy film directed by David Wain about two energy drink salesmen who are ordered to perform 150 hours of community service as punishment for various offenses. For their service, the two men work at a program designed to pair kids with adult role models. The film stars Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Jane Lynch, and Elizabeth Banks.
Danny Donahue (Paul Rudd) and Anson Wheeler (Seann William Scott) (always called "Wheeler") work to promote an energy drink, "Minotaur", to school children, and to encourage kids to stay off drugs. Wheeler loves the job, Danny hates it, viewing it as a mindless, dead-end job. Danny's pessimism results in the collapse of his relationship with Beth Jones (Elizabeth Banks), after he impulsively proposes to her. After one presentation the duo find that their truck is being towed, as they were parked in a no-parking zone. They try driving the truck away from the tow truck, damaging the tow truck, nearly running over a policeman and crashing into a statue.
They are arrested. Beth strikes a deal with the judge in which they have to log 150 hours of community service over the next 30 days, in lieu of 30 days in jail. The judge selects for their community service a big-brother style program called Sturdy Wings, led by Gayle Sweeny (Jane Lynch), a recovering addict. Gayle instantly dislikes the two and warns them that if they fail to carry out their tasks she will have them imprisoned. Wheeler is paired up with Ronnie Shields (Bobb'e J. Thompson), a foul-mouthed streetwise miscreant obsessed with breasts, who has driven away all the other "Bigs" he has been paired with. Danny is assigned August "Augie" Farcques (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a nerdy teenager obsessed with medieval live action role-playing games.
Danny is unable to find common ground with Augie. Ronnie takes virtually no interest in Wheeler. Danny considers choosing the jail sentence, but Wheeler insists that if they go to jail they will lose their jobs. They gradually bond with their charges. Ronnie takes an interest in Wheeler's favorite band, KISS, and discovers that Wheeler shares his obsession with breasts. Danny joins Augie′s live action role playing game, "LAIRE".
Their success is cut short. When Augie manages to sneak up on the King of LAIRE, Argotron (Ken Jeong), the King lies and tells everyone that he killed Augie. Danny, backing up Augie, shoves the King, and gets himself and Augie banned from LAIRE. Later, Danny insults Augie's mother and stepfather for refusing to support Augie's hobby, earning their animosity. Wheeler takes Ronnie to a party and leaves him unsupervised, resulting in Ronnie walking home alone. Ronnie and Augie's parents ask Sturdy Wings for new mentors. Beth promises to defend Danny and Wheeler in court, but believes they will be sent to jail. Danny and Wheeler argue and go their separate ways.
Danny convinces King Argotron to allow Augie to fight that afternoon in the much-awaited Battle Royale. Wheeler gets permission from Ronnie's mother to hang out with Ronnie after he gets out of jail, and earns Ronnie's forgiveness. However, Augie's LAIRE "country" of Xanthia views him as too much of a liability, and throws him out. To form a new LAIRE country, Danny and Augie need four members and matching costumes.
Danny asks Wheeler and Ronnie to join them. They arrive with Wheeler's KISS costumes, naming their new country "Kiss-My-Anthia". After a betrayal by his former Xanthian allies, Augie finally duels with the king, defeating him. A hidden player, Sarah, who goes by Esplen, attacks and defeats him. Augie's parents forgive Danny.
Having seen that Wheeler and Danny do care for the children and not simply themselves, Sweeny clears their names with the judge. Augie hits it off with Esplen, who he has had a crush on for quite a while. Danny serenades Beth with the KISS song "Beth" and they reconcile.
- Paul Rudd as Danny Donahue/Lunesta- one of the two protagonists
- Seann William Scott as Anson Wheeler- one of the two protagonists
- Elizabeth Banks as Beth Jones
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Augie Farks/Lord Blufkin
- Bobb'e J. Thompson as Ronnie Shields
- Jane Lynch as Gayle Sweeny
- Ken Jeong as King Argotron- the main antagonist
- Kerri Kenney-Silver as Lynette Farcques (Augie's mother)
- Ken Marino as Jim Stansel (Lynette's boyfriend)
- Nicole Randall Johnson as Karen Shields (Ronnie's mother)
- A.D. Miles as Martin Gary
- Joe Lo Truglio as Michael Kuzzik
- Vincent Martella as Artonius Kuzzik
- Matt Walsh as Davith of Glencracken
- Allie Stamler as Queen Esplen (Sarah)
- Jessica Morris as Linda the Teacher
- Carly Craig as Connie
- Keegan-Michael Key as Duane
- Amanda Righetti as Isabel
- Jorma Taccone as Mitch
- Armen Weitzman as Party Dude
- Elijah Polanco as Ronnie's Friend
- Nate Hartley as Rule master
The film was originally announced in December 2006 under the title Big Brothers, with Luke Greenfield directing and Timothy Dowling writing the script. A January 22, 2007 draft of the script credits Moses Port and David Guarascio as writers, with no listing of Dowling. During promotion for the film Knocked Up, Paul Rudd revealed that shooting on Big Brothers was on hiatus while the script was being retooled. News was later revealed that Rudd was commissioned to write a new draft of the script and David Wain had signed on to direct. Wain later revealed the film was now titled Little Big Men. UniversalPictures.com listed the film under the final title Role Models, which made its release on November 7, 2008. It was pre-screened at the University of Maryland's Hoff Theater on October 30, 2008 to positive accord.
One running gag in the movie is a song entitled "Love Take Me Down (To the Streets)," which is claimed by one character to be by the band Wings. In the initial scene at the Sturdy Wings building, Martin begins singing the song, which he claims is "one of their hits from the 70s," a fact which Danny denies. This is a minor recurring joke throughout the film. During the credits, the song plays and is listed on the film soundtrack as being performed by "Not Wings." The song was written by Charles Gansa, a composer who worked on the film, and A.D. Miles, the actor who played Martin. It was written to imitate the style of the music of Wings. The singer who performed the song was Joey Curatolo, a Paul McCartney soundalike who performs in the Beatles tribute band RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles.
Reviews for the film have been generally positive with the comedy receiving a "certified fresh" rating of 76% positive based on 115 reviews at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. In their year end review, IGN awarded Role Models with "Best Comedy Film of 2008". Eye Weekly selected Role Models as one of the best films of 2008.
The Rotten Tomatoes consensus said, "Role Models is a frequently crude, always funny comedy with the cast providing solid work throughout."
Role Models opened at #2 behind Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa with $19,167,085 in ticket sales. The film made a total of $67,300,955 domestically and $25,201,210 in foreign countries, for a total of $92,502,165 worldwide.
The DVD was released on March 10, 2009 selling 1,028,207 during its first week generating $17,469,237 in revenue. As of November 1, 2009 the DVD has sold 2,197,809 copies and over $36 million in revenue.
The DVD includes:
- Audio commentary by director Wain - theatrical version
- Deleted scenes and alternate scenes
- 4 featurettes
The Blu-ray features all of the DVD features with U-Control and BD Live Features.
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- "Future Releases". Universal Pictures.
- "Role Models Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "IGN - Best Comedy Film of 2008". Bestof.ign.com. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "2008: Reeling in the year". Eye Weekly. 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2009-06-11.