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Massawyrm rolls the dice and gets into character with ROLE MODELS!!


Hola all. Massawyrm here. If there’s one thing that separates the wheat from the chaff, it is making a comedy about an individual subculture that is equally as funny to John Q. Popcorn as it is to the subculture being lampooned. Nowhere is that principle more evident than in films about us geeks, dorks and nerds. Oh many try, but most fail. Why? Well it is very easy for someone to stand back and say “Look! Aren’t those people weird? What losers!” But can you make the people you’re laughing at laugh at themselves? Most of the time the answer is no. The chief problem with making fun of nerds, geeks and dorks is this: as the single most picked on groups in the American schema, we’ve heard it all. And much like Steve Martin in the classic comedy Roxanne, we tell much better jokes about ourselves. So when I see these films that try to milk humor from the donning of a cloak or the rolling of dice and they can’t live up to the jokes my weekly D&D group makes about the same topic, well it’s time to hang it up and write about what you know, junior. Which is what is so refreshing about the new Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott comedy Role Models. Okay, REFRESHING isn’t the word. Surprising. Surprising is the best way to describe this. At first glance this looks like just another one of those not-nearly-as-smart-as-it-is-pretending-to-be Frat Comedies that have been assaulting the theaters over the last few years. You know, the kind in which non-functioning man children are put into very real situations and we watch as an unending stream of juvenility ensues. But as you dig a little deeper, the image becomes muddier as you discover that David Wain both co-wrote and directed this. Now Wain is best known as a sketch comedian who wrote and directed much of the classic, genre obliterating comedy of The State. Strange, warped and far too ahead of its time, The State contained material that I quote even to this day, some 15 years later. I’ll often fondly recall word for word one of Barry and Lavon’s speeches or speak at length about how much I would like to “dip my balls in it.” But what Wain was best at on television proved to translate poorly to film. While both Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten have devoted cult audiences, I found them both to be a nigh unwatchable, episodic series of gags filled with more misfires than hits. So what happens when you take the Frat Boy comedy and give it over to a sketch comedian dead set on making his first truly narrative feature? You get an incredibly funny film that hits almost every joke on the nose. Rudd and Scott are two lifetime losers stuck in a dead end job who have one bad day that could send them to jail…unless they are willing to complete a month of community service taking care of two precocious kids. While they spend a bit of time on the relationship of Scott and his perfectly paired hornball, fatherless child in search of a father figure story, the thrust of the film involves Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse as a lonely, misunderstood dork who is heavily into role playing via the world of LARPing. For those of you fortunate enough to not be familiar with what that means let me enlighten you a bit. The phrase means Live Action Role Playing and is effectively like playing Dungeons and Dragons, but with costumes, props and no dice. It’s like Cosplay, but with rules. Yeah. It’s a special level of hell located at the bottom of the gamer food chain ripe for the comedy picking…if done right. Well, Role Models walks a very fine line both being sure to openly roast the community with scathing commentary that scores a number of bull’s-eyes, while equally embracing the sheer joy of it, fully illustrating why someone could get caught up in the whole affair. By the time they get through the insanity of the third act, the film seems not to be holding its nose while wading through it, but fully in love with its subject, ready to throw on a cape and get into the fun themselves. It’s a rare comedic treat that proves not only to be on par with most geek related humor, but at times even funnier. They nail it in a way that explains the behavior to Joe Sixpack, letting him laugh at all the ‘fruits’ while making jokes that show the gamers that they actually know what the hell they are talking about. And like any great comedy, the film has a lot of heart. It not only loves its subject matter, but its characters. A sharp turn from Wain’s previous efforts, this fully illustrates his capacity to make fully realized, Apatow style comedies more akin to the Apatow produced (as opposed to directed), more heavily scripted comedies. Well written and funny as fuck, this easily stands as one of the better comedies of the year and one well worth seeing. If you’ve ever LARPed, spent time at a Ren Faire or know what SCA stands for, this movie is going to split your side wide open. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 30, 2008, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Rolling models?

    by LordPorkington

    Like pushing Kate Moss down a hill? Is that what you mean?

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    question:

    by ArcadianDS

    how many times in this movie does someone get hit in the junk with a fake sword? Im guessing three.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 1:37 p.m. CST

    I'll wait for the Furries comedy.

    by Squashua

    But I won't anticipate it.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    After The Promotion, Scott is in my good books.

    by IAmMrMonkey!

    Man, that was a great little comedy which deserved a bigger audience.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Stifler goes to Camp

    by ArcadianDS

    My problem with the concept of this movie is that its a return to the typecasting of Scott as the bawdy bumbling sex maniac frat brat. His recent films looked very much like an effort to break out of that and just as he was about to succeed, he slips back into the comfortable clothes of Stifler.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Is Patton Oswalt in it?

    by rev_skarekroe

    I have shoes of escaping!!!

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Whhhaaaaaaat?!

    by Multiplex

    Wet Hot American Summer is one of the funniest comedies of the past decade! Ah whatever. I'm really looking forward to Role Models. (Never saw the Ten, though.)

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 2:07 p.m. CST

    didn't like WHAS???

    by StovetopStuffin'

    but but....why not? Dude, I don't understand you now. But at least we agree on Role Models. It's a formulaic, but funny ass movie!

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 2:20 p.m. CST

    why on Earth would anyone want to see this?

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Because...

    by SantiagoAndDunbar

    it looks hilarious?

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Wet Hot American Summer is genius.

    by Lenny Nero

    Elizabeth Banks: Whatcha doin'? <p>Paul Rudd: Writing in my gournal. I write my thoughts in it every day. <p>Banks: Oh, you mean a journal? <p>Rudd: Yeah, whatever. I guess I'm not all smart like you. <p> And then, "You taste like a burger. I don't like you anymore."

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 2:50 p.m. CST

    LARPing and Cosplay

    by Xiphos_2

    The two saddest words in the English language.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:09 p.m. CST

    I would have never guessed that I would've loved this

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    Trust me guys, this is hilarious, and I'm very hard to please with the comedy genre. Paul Rudd is a genius. I saw this at Fantastic Fest, and looking at the subject matter, I would normally have avoided this flick like the plague. When I heard what the secret screening was going to be, I groaned. This sounded like my idea of Hell. Then the movie began and I started giggling. Before I knew it I was laughing my ass off, and I genuinely liked and rooted for the charcaters. You guys might actually like this one.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Reluctant Austinite

    by Willyer Hero

    Plant much?

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:24 p.m. CST

    I've seen it -- it sucked.

    by exie

    Either the comedy standards have been completely lowered or some of you guys are truly desperate to laugh. It's clear that this site has a thing for Rudd and Universal since they've been covering this movie since Rudd came on for the rewrite. While I like Rudd, he didn't carry the movie for me and I'm not a fan of Stifler who will always be Stifler not matter his best attempts. The screening I went to was not filled with wall to wall laughter and a lot of people were just "meh" when all was said and done.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:25 p.m. CST

    I'm not a plant.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    I just liked it. My name is Rod Whitenack. I live in Louisville, KY, but have good friends in Austin. Sue me if you don't like it, or don't go see it all. I don't really care. I wish I was a plant, as I'd be getting paid for this shit.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:26 p.m. CST

    "the single most picked on groups in the American schema"

    by tonagan

    Aside from every other minority group, you mean.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST

    I dunno, tonagan

    by rev_skarekroe

    Even other minority groups can pick on nerds.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:49 p.m. CST

    At least this is good Stifler...

    by the beef

    I also saw it at Fantastic Fest. It's everything Wyrm says it is, and while it's true that Scott reverts back to Stifler territory this is a much better personification of adult Stifler than American Wedding was. Wyrm didn't mention Jane Lynch, who is funnier in this than she has been in any other role I've seen her in, including her Christopher Guest films.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 3:53 p.m. CST

    I got invited to a test screening of this

    by Monkey Butler

    While I was in the US. This hot chick came up to me on the Promenade in Santa Monica and showed me a picture of Sean William Scott and asked if I wanted to see a movie with him in it that night. I said no, but felt pretty good that I was fitting into that crowd of dumb American jocks who see a movie just because it's got Stifler in it. Now I'm thinking maybe she thought I was a geek. Damnit.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 4:08 p.m. CST

    WET HOT

    by The InSneider

    Maybe you had to go to Jewish summer camp to get all the jokes but Massa but WHAS is one of the funniest movies of the last decade, EASY. Genius!

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Let him with out sin...

    by SonofVoodoo

    Really, should someone that still plays D&D be poking fun at LARPers? It's a broken system. STILL! Sure I LARP. I play Vampire. I goout and socially interact with people. And we have girls. Not the slugs that horde around RPGA. I mean some pretty fine specimens on nature. Truth be told, most women get into gaming from LARPS. And asfar as Boffer LARP? Come on, youget to hitpeople with sticks. That's pretty awesome.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 5:32 p.m. CST

    SonofVoodoo

    by BadMrWonka

    so many acronyms, so little sex...

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Renaissance Festival Humor?

    by MeshGearFoxx

    Now there's some inspired comedy. One step above a guy getting hit in the nuts.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 9:25 p.m. CST

    The Ten was a huge piece of shit! And I love Gretchen Mol

    by GQtaste

    and think she's the hottest piece of ass around that age group. But that doesn't change the fact The Ten was a disaster.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 9:38 p.m. CST

    L.A. Times called Seth Rogen "Fozzie Bear"

    by Fa Fa Fooey

    Unrelated I know, but funny just the same.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 11:05 p.m. CST

    I've been looking forward to this

    by Turd Furgeson

    Glad to see Massa likes it, I trust him more than most others who write for this site, especially lately. I still miss the days when Mori wrote a lot of reviews... The red band trailer for this totally hooked me in. Can't wait for this to come out next week.

  • Oct. 30, 2008, 11:14 p.m. CST

    I loved this movie

    by Cpt. Arnoldo

    Went to the Chicago screening, it seriously surprised the hell outta me. Really funny stuff.