Blu Ray Title: Role Models
Disk Release Date: March 10, 2009
Rated: R and Unrated on one disk
Screen format: 1080P High Definition Widescreen 1.85:1
First theatrical release: November 7, 2008
Previous releases on disk: Day and Date with DVD
Director: David Wain
Starring: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks and Bobb’e J. Thompson
Sound Formats: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish & French DTS 5.1
Length: 1 hour 39 minutes R, 1 hour 42 minutes Unrated
Subtitles: English, Spanish & French
Wheeler (Rudd) and Danny (Scott) are two 20 somethings who have put off growing up as long as they can, Danny embracing a hedonistic carefree lifestyle and Wheeler becoming more smarmy and self important the older he gets. These two energy drink hucksters get slammed back to reality when they are sentenced to become ‘Bigs’, mentors to troubled kids. Danny’s ‘Little’ is ‘Augie’ a nerdy teen with a passion for a Role Playing game called L.A.I.R.E. while Wheeler’s charge is Ronnie. a foul mouthed kid who is in serious need of a father figure to learn from.
Viewers can probably guess where this is headed, a redemption of sorts for all four as they each have something to learn from each other, but what is surprising is how they get there through the unlikely combination of sword fighting, skirt chasing, growing up on their own terms, all tied together by the majesty that is their favorite Rock Band, KISS.
Sound Quality: 3.5/5
Sound quality is about as average as you would expect in a dialogue driven comedy that veers from sexy to sweet in a buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy kind of way. Bass and surround are minimal with the exception of several renaissance fair scenes and a few stunts pulled in a minotaur shaped energy drink monster truck. The soundtrack however is filled with some gems, especially for those who like Wheeler and Danny grew up in the 70’s and 80s.
Visual Quality: 3.5/5
Video quality also seemed quite average, but please don’t misread this as lackluster, there is plenty of detail, good coloring and the film is moderately sharp, I was just never blown away nor did I expect to be. It looked exactly as I would expect a film of its caliber to look when transfered with care to Blu.
Extra Features: 3.5/5
Role Models packs a satisfying set of Extras that mates chapter selectable U-Control Picture in Picture ‘behind the scenes’ sequences to a handful of static features. First up are an extensive selection of deleted scenes and bloopers, the highlights of which are a set of cut scenes surrounding the pizza join the group goes to, expanded scenes with Louis CK and a long run of riffs on toilet humor. There’s a traditional ‘on set’ visit that gives a bit of flavor and background to the history Wain has with The State and his new found cast members, plus sequences where some of the bit players get to have a shot at more face time to goof around in character. The best feature for me, however, was a longer look at how the crew combined Dungeons and Dragons, Live Action Role Playing, and Society for Creative Anachronisms / Renaissance Fair cues to come up with their own group, L.A.I.R.E.
Overall: 3/5 (not an average)
What wasn't mentioned above is the unique mix that Role Models brings to the staid Buddy-Film. By doubling up and the buddies and including kids as two of the buddies there really is new ground to work with. Add to that the really bizarre and funny character actors who add to the mayhem, and then mix in the naughty bits and Role Models has some great laughs but isn’t an end to end riot, but it still manages to come up as an overall positive. Surprisingly it’s the ‘littles’ who steal the show, while many will recognize Mintz-Plasse from his ‘McLovin’ character Bobb’e J. Thompson’s racial stereotypes and expletives are both shocking and hysterical, if you can handle it coming from a kid. I personally found the biggest laughs coming from him, and found the common bond that all four share at the end to be a fun and funny hook.