Role Models

Posted on November 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity.
Profanity: Extremely strong and crude language used by adults and child
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, drugs, character is a recovering drug abuser
Violence/ Scariness: Comic violence, fantasy battles, swords
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: November 7, 2008

It takes some brains to make a good dumb comedy. Paul Rudd, who has been the best thing in too many films that ranged from dumb, to awful, to wildly uneven, has co-created a film that manages to insult the intelligence of its characters without insulting the intelligence of its audience too badly.

I could have done with less emphasis on the inherent hilarity of hearing an angry little kid use bad language and make sexually precocious comments. And some of the double entendres were so nudge-nudge obvious they were closer to single and a fraction. But some good lines and sharply observed characters make it above average for its genre.

Rudd and Seann William Scott play Danny and Wheeler, who work for a company that sells a soft drink called Minotaur by visiting schools for a phony “don’t do drugs” talk that is really just a way to push their soda. Wheeler wears a Minotaur suit and Danny half-heartedly tells the kids to drink Minotaur instead of doing drugs and then they drive off in their Minotaur-obile. This is all just fine with Wheeler, a walking id who just wants to get high and have sex. But Danny once wanted more from life and when his increasing bitterness causes his lawyer girlfriend to leave him, seeing the Minotaur-obile towed away is just one indignity too many. He objects, leading to arrests, leading to community service at Sturdy Wings, a Big Brother-style place run by a former drug addict (Jane Lynch). Each is assigned a “Little.” Wheeler gets a precocious kid (Bobb’e J. Thompson) who swears all the time and accuses everyone of racism and child abuse. He is also way too fascinated with feminine anatomy, a trait they manage to bond over. And Danny gets Augie (“Superbad” McLovin’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a cape-wearing nerd whose life revolves around a Medieval-ish role-playing game

Director David Wain manages the tricky balance between having some fun with the conventions of the genre without getting mean about it. Yes, everyone learns a few lessons about self-respect and relationships (and sword-fighting) but when they do it in medieval role-playing gear inspired by a rock band, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Note, however, that a child actor’s bad language and sexual obsessions are more disturbing than funny and raise serious questions about whether the laws protecting child performers are adequate and adequately enforced.

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Comedy Movies

16 Replies to “Role Models”

  1. How much nudity is in it?
    I’m hoping to see this. It looks really funny.
    Though, I’m 14 (but very mature) and can’t see this without a parent, so just wondering how bad it’d be to see with a parent if they sit a few rows back or something.
    Please respond!

  2. Thanks for writing, Paige. As you can see from my review, I consider this movie completely inappropriate for kids and recommend it for adults only. It has nothing to do with your maturity level. It has to do with the extremely crude and raunchy material in the film. Sorry!

  3. I would not take a 14-year-old to this film, which is rated R. It has extremely crude and graphic sexual humor as well as drinking and drug use.

  4. There is full female nudity and a great deal of extremely vulgar sexual humor including sexual situations and a child obsessed with sex.

  5. If your child is over 15 they have seen all there is to see when it comes to nudity. They hear this language all the time and if you think otherwise you are living in a dream world. If your son is 17 why are you so concerned about it. He will be able to do whatever he wants in a year any ways. People need to relize we live in a different world now. You teach your children their values no matter what they see in a movie.
    Proud Parent who has been around the block.

  6. Usually it seems around age 15 “they’ve seen it already” and “pretty soon they’ll be able to do whatever they want” seem like legitimate arguments.
    They aren’t.
    As you will see if you read my review, the issue is not nudity or language; it is the exceptional vulgarity of its context. And even if kids already know all those words and know lots of dirty jokes, that does not mean that it is appropriate for them to see this movie or for their parents to give them permission to see it. You teach your children their values by having your actions match your words, and quite often that action means saying “no.” I’ve heard many more young adults complain that their parents were not protective enough than I have heard say that they were too protective.

  7. personally as a 16 year old I think that u exaggerate way to much about these movies. I mean come on hellboy 2 for highschoolers, i would let my 6 year old cousin watch that. By age 13-14 kids have heard it all and seen it all. im lucky if i make it through the day without hearing sexual jokes and the F word being used 300 times a day. I really think that u should lighten up the ages, and because if your parents wont let you see the movie, chances are if you want to see it you will just sneak out.

  8. As a 15 year old highschooler, I really disagree with this website. I think that you really tend to exaggerate the movies, I mean come hellboy 2 for a highschooler? I would let my 5 year old cousin watch that. Also by the time a kid reaches the age of 13 or 14 he/she has heard it all. I’m lucky if I make it through the day without hearing numerous sexual jokes, and a minimun of 300 uses of the “f” word. and I go to a public school so its not like it is just happening in my school. I think that even if you write down that our age group shouldn’t watch this, and our parents don’t let us go. If we really want to see it we simply watch it online, or lie and say we are going to a different movie or a friends house.

  9. Thanks for your comment, anonymous. However, if you think it is a good argument to say that you should be allowed to see something just because if you are not you are willing to betray your parents’ trust and violate their rules, that seems to me to show that exposure to inappropriate material has adversely affected your judgment and your sense of integrity. While you may be exaggerating to make a point, the fact that you say that you think “Hellboy 2” is suitable for a 5 year old also shows that your sense of what is appropriate is not reliable.
    I give parents the information they need to make an informed decision. It has nothing to do with what you know or what you have seen or heard. I recognize that it is an ugly world out there and I do not expect parents to be able to protect their children from every exposure to bad language or graphic images. But that is no reason to say that they should not do the best they can to provide guidance and set limits. And their saying no is no justification for your violating their trust, a loss you will find very difficult to regain.

  10. Go you, Nell! I am a 20 year old woman and just finally understanding why my parents acted the way they did. I always felt like they just didn’t want me growing up and that they didn’t understand me and how “mature” I was. Now, though, I understand that no matter how mature I thought I was, and no matter how many f words got dropped in the hallways, they loved me enough to say no. My parents shielded me and helped me to stay young and pure of heart for as long as possible. I fought against them for it with all my will, but now I so appreciate them for it. They knew that they couldn’t shield me from everything and that doing so wasn’t the greatest idea anyways, but they just didn’t want me to get over exposed to things that would hurt my heart and my innocence. They knew that innocence isn’t coming back once it’s gone. It saddens me to see 15 year olds comment on the internet thinking that they know everything like I once believed. I wish they could see from their parents’ eyes. I still wish I could see from my parents’ eyes. But now I am free to make my own mistakes and learn on my own. I just wish children would wait longer to decide they are smarter than their parents. Wait long enough to realize that they will never be.

  11. I love your comment, Brianna! You remind me of the great line from Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned.”
    Your parents clearly did a great job and they are lucky to have you, as I am sure they know. Thanks for the comment and please return often.

  12. I agrre with you Nell! Its rediuclous that parents allow their kids to watch this kind of trash. Its pathetic enough that adults watch it. To me.. anyone ammused by something like this and willing to waist 2 hours on it is less intelligent than average. yes thats a harsh jedgment but too bad thats how I think.
    As a 20 year old female I find this movie vulgar and pointless. It is insulting to women and kids with special needs. Women are only seen as one thig in this movie. It makes me sick. It is so sad that so much money is put into glorifying drugs and sex in this manner. I am really sick of what society is potraying in media as “funny.” This movie isn’t funny. Its ruthless,vulgar, pointless and sexist.

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