Role Models (Unrated) (2008) 
Blu-ray Comedy
Written by Noah Fleming   
Tuesday, 10 March 2009

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"Role Models" debuted in theaters in late 2008, grossing nearly $70 million.  That is not too shabby for such a weak comedy.  The film has its moments, but in the end it is the same old comedy time and time again.  The only saving grace to the film is the chemistry between the two lead actors.  Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd play nicely off of each other, despite the weak script.

The film is centered on two men, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann Willian Scott).  The duo work for Minotaur drinking company, a caffeinated drink much like Red Bull.  The team goes from school to school giving seminars on the drink, a basic promotion.  Somehow they are able to do this for years without running out of schools to visit.  Just the amount of schools they go to in one montage is more schools than are in most cities.  Nonetheless, Danny has worked for the same company for 10 years, and realizes that he is absolutely miserable.  Somehow he got in his head that he was going to be a doctor or surgeon or something like that.  I believe I caught a brief reference to Danny holding a Ph.D., however I highly doubt that is the case.

After he rashly proposes to his girlfriend of seven years (Elizabeth Banks), he is dumped.  Suffering from a breakdown, Danny screws up his talk at a school and proceeds to trash the school property by ramming his minotaur 4x4 vehicle up the school's horse statue.  Danny's ex-girlfriend is able to work her magic and get Danny and Wheeler a community service gig instead of going to prison.  They must each complete 150 hours of community service at Sturdy Wings, a big brother mentor program.  If they don't complete the required hours they go to jail for 30 days.

From the moment they arrive at the facility, I would have already chosen 30 days in jail rather than the community service.  I'm not alone, Danny agrees with me.  Danny is partnered with a high school kid that has trouble dealing with reality so he resorts to LAIRE, a role playing community.  HE wears his cape day in and day out.  Wheeler is partnered with a potty-mouth kid with a single mom.

Of course neither Danny nor Wheeler gets along with their kids and feel they have nothing to offer them.  Naturally, the duo grows attached to their kids through a camping trip, music and role-playing activities.  It goes without saying that everything works out for every actor in the end.  A typical Hollywood ending.

Universal brings "Role Models" to Blu-ray with only a moderate video transfer.  The image lacks strong details and textures.  The costumes and objects in each scene are consistently flat.  The entire image is very one-dimensional.  The colors are not as vibrant as I would have hoped.  A layer of fuzz appears to be covering the image.  Black levels are deep, but some minor crushing does appear in the darker areas.  Shadow delineation is poor.  There is a very fine layer of grain covering the image, which is hardly noticeably.  The edges suffer from a fuzzy, jagged nature, which is better than edge enhancement.  Fleshtones are stable and accurate for the most part.

As per usual, Universal gives us a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track on the Blu-ray disc.  The audio is stereotypical of a comedy film like this.  There is very little activity in the surround channels.  The surrounds only function as ambient filler.  Certain sequences, such as the house party contain a noticeable lack of surround presence.  The LFE channel is forgettable.  There are no dynamics to speak of.  Everything exists on the same plane.  The dialogue unfortunately is not as clear as I would have liked.  Many of the lines come across muddy as they are buried among the music and sound effects.  From the get go it was noticeable that the dialogue suffered from a lack of clarity in the upper-mid frequencies.  The track is certainly listenable, but at the same token it is very forgettable.

In terms of special features, the film is presented in both its R-rated and Unrated cuts.  The unrated cut is only three minutes longer and I really couldn't spot the difference.  The Blu-ray disc also contains BD-Live material as well as Universal's U-Control.  The Picture-in-picture function is accessible via this area and contains footage and interviews.  This track is only available on the Unrated cut of the film.  Additionally, the disc contains more than 15 deleted scenes and alternate takes.  None of them are that funny, but they are similar to actual film.  There are a handful of bloopers.  "On Set of 'Role Models'" is a typical behind the scenes look at the film.  "Game On: Creating a Role Playing World" takes a look at the creation of LAIRE.  "In-Character & Off-Script" shows the actors in the natural habitat.  Lastly, there is a feature commentary track with director/co-writer David Wain.

"Role Models" is a stereotypical comedy film, much like "40 Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up."  Still, the film has its funny moments.  Overall though, the film is forgettable, much like the audio and video quality.
Studio Universal Studios Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating Unrated
Starring Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong
Director David Wain
Film Release Year 2008
Release Year 2009
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Running Time 1 hr. 39 mins, 1 hr. 42 mins
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 5.1 • French DTS 5.1 • Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features U-Control: Picture-in-Picture; BD-Live; Deleted Scenes; Alternate Takes; Bloopers; "On the Set of 'Role Models'"; "Game On: Creating a Role Playing World"; "In-Character & Off-Script"; Director Audio Commentary
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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