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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Role Models – Unrated (2008/Universal Blu-ray)

Role Models – Unrated (2008/Universal Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: B     Film: B



These aren’t your typical role models and Role Models is not your typical comedy.  The film stars Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd as a pair of wise cracking, cynical Energy Drink Salesman, turned community service victims.  With comedy being such a subjective art, it is hard to say exactly way Role Models is so good.  Perhaps it is the great cast or the feel good script; but what ever it is the film is by far one of the funniest of 2009, showcasing William Scott and Rudd at their best.  The new comedy explores life through the eyes of two men; one who sees their beer bottle as half empty and the other who sees it as half full.  Together the pair are forced to become more human and less sarcastic (maybe not), when after making a spectacle of themselves and destroying a high school’s courtyard are sentenced to perform community service as part of the Big Brothers Program.


In the Big Brother Program Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Sean William Scott) are handed two very different and challenging children.  Danny is assigned Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Super Bad) a hopelessly nerdy teenage boy who is obsessed with a role playing game called L.A.I.R.E. in which he lives out the life of a fictional warrior knight.  Wheeler is given a small African American child named Ronnie Shields (Bobb’e J Thompson) who is foul mouthed, a bit of a bully, and seemingly afraid of nothing.  The film progresses through various stages of the Big Brother Program, whereas at first the two men want to just get the community service over with, but soon learn that maybe the kids could teach them a thing or two.  The film uses in your face shticks as well as subtle comedy to propel the message of the film forward; as the film has the vibe of a Jud Apatow film, without all the extra, overstuffed nonsense.  The casting was great with the like of Rudd, William Scott, the boys, and Elizabeth Banks making for a serene group of individuals who portray their characters flawlessly.  The film has heart and soul without forgetting that it is a comedy.  Role Models is a great film that will remind audiences that laughs doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice content.


The difference between the Unrated Version and the Theatrical Cut is almost nil; only adding 3 minutes of negligible scenes to film.  For the most part the “unrated” title seems to be for marketing reason and adds little to the film.  Based on the lack of additional material the R-rated feature (theatrical release) is completely fine.


The technical features of Role Models: Unrated on Blu-ray are certainly models to follow.  The picture is presented in a 1.85 X 1 1080p MPEG-4 AVC Widescreen that is a kick in the face (that is a good thing in this case) of color, detail, and clarity.  With the picture demonstrating a strong color palette and deep blacks the image jumps off the screen exquisitely.  Though the film is by no means a special effects or environmental masterpiece, for High Definition on Blu-ray the picture is very nice.  The sound is projected in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that is fluid, round, and full as it captures the dialogue with optimum precision and ambient noises appropriately flutter in and out as needed.  The issue with the sound is the lack of full soundscape emersion as the full range of speakers is not always used and though ambient noises are presented, a good deal of the film continues to rely heavily on the front speakers.  With all of that said the overall technical presentation was well done for a feel good comedy.


The special features include Bloopers, On the Set of Role Models featurette, Game On: Creating a Role Playing World, In-Character & Off-Script, Deleted Scenes, and Alternate Takes.  There are nearly an hour of deleted scenes and alternate scenes to look at that you can only find on the Blu-ray.  The aforementioned deleted/alternate scenes are RIDICULOUS and awesomely hilarious.  The extended version is oddly sparse and it would have been in the studios best interest to somehow blend these scenes into the film to make a “whole new version;” but sadly that did not happen.  At least they are there to view in the extras.  David Wain alone does an audio commentary that is interesting, but if you skip it you aren’t missing much; seeing as how it would have been better if the cast had participated.  Honestly, did Sean William Scott have anything better to do?  The U-Control feature allows for a Picture-In-Picture track that gives a lot of information up front, but begins to wane as the film progresses.  The BD Live feature also adds an exclusive Blu-ray extra as the viewer can participate in Ye Olde Crest Maker where you can individualize your own crest for L.A.I.R.E.  Overall, the extras are nice and can be watched on multiple occasions and still be hilarious as ever.


Being that it is one of the funniest films that I have seen in the last year, I highly recommend Role Models.  Not only does the film have a great cast with a solid script; but it wasn’t afraid to be different and not give audiences that same useless dribble that idiotic spoof films have been delivering over and over again for years.  So rip open a case of Minotaur Energy Drink and your whispering eye and get ready to see what Role Models is really made of.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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