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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Role Models Unrated

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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK


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Posted March 08 2009 - 05:31 PM


Studio: Universal
Original Release: 2008
Length: 1 hour 42 mins (Unrated Version) 1 hour 39 mins (R-Rated Version)
Genre: Comedy

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Color/B&W: Color

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    Rating: R (Language, Nudity, Crudity, Sexual Content)

  • Release Date: March 10, 2009

    Rating: 3

    Starring: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch and Elizabeth Banks

    Screenplay by: Paul Rudd, David Wain, Ken Marino and Timothy Dowling
    Directed by: David Wain

    Role Models is a deliberately low-brow comedy that has a few genuine laughs here and there, and a heart that it occasionally brings to the surface to offset the ruder jokes and references sprinkled throughout. It’s a kind of cross-breed between the low-budget indie comedy work done by David Wain over the past few years and the current crop of Judd Apatow comedies regularly coming out these days. The script is a group effort from Wain and Paul Rudd, among others, and it basically follows two young thirty-somethings who must do community service in a “Big Brother” – styled program with two young misfits as their “littles”. From that scenario, which initially doesn’t yield much material, the film brings out some surprisingly gentle humor and eventually a deeper affection for the characters that makes this film worth watching. And if the viewer gets bored, the film throws in a cameo by Ken Jeung, and supporting turns by Elizabeth Banks and Jane Lynch that are worth the time to see.

    The DVD submitted for review here is the Unrated Edition, which includes both the theatrical cut and a slightly longer one (by three minutes) that adds some extra bits but nothing beyond the bounds. (For the record, I watched the longer version only – and saw nothing past the warnings already on the DVD packaging.) In addition to both versions of the film, the DVD also includes a scene-specific commentary by David Wain (for the theatrical version only), along with some deleted scenes and extensions, a few bloopers, two featurettes and some in-character improvs by three of the supporting cast members.


    Role Models is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer that is identical for both versions of the film presented here. There is a pretty wide range of color and flesh tones on display here, along with some solid black levels for the night scenes. For sheer variety, the most interesting visual material here comes in the medieval role-playing sequences, where the frame is filled with a variety of different costumes and makeups, all of which are served well by this transfer.


    Role Models is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English, French and Spanish that primarily works in the front channels for the dialogue, but activates the subwoofer and the rear channels for the rock music and the occasional surges in the score. The most prominent use of the subwoofer probably comes with the “Minotaur” truck that makes strategic appearances in the film.


    Role Models contains several special features: a commentary track with director David Wain, deleted scenes, bloopers, two featurettes and three in-character improvs by supporting actors in the cast.

  • Director’s Commentary by David Wain – This scene-specific commentary with David Wain is a little dry, but it does contain a lot of information if you have the patience to stay with it. Wain is openly affectionate about the cast, and honest about the challenges he faced in making the film. He discusses the reshoots done before the film’s release, and identifies the actors that come to the film from his “Stella” performance group. THIS COMMENTARY IS ONLY AVAILABLE WHILE WATCHING THE THEATRICAL VERSION.

  • Deleted Scenes – (24:19 Total, Anamorphic) - Nearly 25 minutes of deleted scenes and scene extensions are presented here, including a deleted opening party sequence (and aftermath), and some extended bits that were wisely trimmed. The scenes can be viewed individually or through a “Play All” function. One extension to a family dinner scene is available online at YouTube - Deleted Scene From Role Models .

  • Bloopers – (3:51, Anamorphic) - A few minutes of bloopers are presented here, usually involving one of the actors blowing a line or bursting out laughing in the middle of a take. There is some infectious fun to be had watching Paul Rudd completely lose himself after receiving the ad-libbed cue-line “Rub-a-Dub-Dub!!!!” A pair of bloopers with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott can be found online at YouTube - Role Models Bloopers .

  • On the Set of Role Models – (7:40, Non-Anamorphic) - This is a standard EPK featurette that combines on-set interviews with video footage from the filming of the movie. There isn’t much to this, other than to hear how enthusiastic everyone is about the project, with the occasional off the cuff remarks spicing things up here and there. David Wain briefly discusses the same issues he goes into much greater depth about in his commentary. A brief clip from this featurette can be found online at YouTube - Role Models Behind the Scenes .

  • Game On: Creating an Role Playing World – (9:41, Non-Anamorphic) - This featurette focuses on the medieval fantasy world seen in the film, with a mixture of interviews in and out of character on the set, along with on-set footage of the costumes and set decoration. In all honesty, there isn’t much to be learned here – viewers would be better advised to look up this material online or find a real documentary on the subject. What we have here is really just a reason for the filmmakers to have fun with this material.

  • In Character and Off-Script – (8:06 Total, Non-Anamorphic) - Three ad-libbed interviews are presented here, with supporting actors A.D. Miles, Joe Lo Truglio and Matt Walsh. They’re fun to watch, but don’t contribute more than a novelty to the experience.

    When the first disc is put into the machine, non-anamorphic trailers are presented for the DVD release of Bring it On: Fight to the Finish, the Wanted: Weapons of Fate video game, the usual anti-smoking PSA, the Blu-ray release of The Fast and The Furious, and the upcoming NBC series Kings.

    Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish for the film itself, as well as for the deleted scenes. A standard chapter menu is included for quick reference.

    I should also mention that an online game has also been made available at the film’s website for those really interested in this sort of thing: Babe Watcher Game . I haven’t tried it myself, but fans of the film are welcome to check it out for themselves.

    IN THE END...

    Role Models holds some surprises in the midst of what one would expect from a current rude-form comedy, namely a genuine affection for its characters and some honest displays of heart that don’t normally appear in these films. Fans of David Wain’s comic stylings or of the current crop of Judd Apatow comedies may enjoy this film, as will many other people who might not have expected to do so.

    Kevin Koster
    March 8, 2009.

    #2 of 3 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman

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    Posted March 20 2009 - 03:37 AM

    I laughed nonstop through the first 40 minutes or so and thought the story was good enough to carry the rest of the film.

    Incidentally, I found a pretty decent Easter Egg. If you put the cursor on Bloopers in the Special Features menu and click the right arrow on your remote, the character's loincloth will be highlighted. Select it to watch a short film that spoofs the VH1 show "The Pick-Up Artist." It may also be available at WAINY DAYS.
    "How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

    #3 of 3 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted March 22 2009 - 08:18 AM

    Thanks for pointing out the Easter Egg, Aaron. I'll check it out. Although I have to admit the high point of the materials on the disc was watching Paul Rudd be completely floored by "Rub a Dub Dub!"

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