Role Models

Universal Pictures (Producers), & Wain, David (Director). (2008)

When Danny (Paul Rudd), a passive-aggressive unhappy energy drink salesman loses it in the company’s “Minotaur Truck” and drives up onto the front lawn of a school, he and the Minotaur Mascot/salesman, Wheeler (Seann William Scott), a cheerfully irresponsible and crude man-boy, must do their community service at a mentoring organization called Sturdy Wings, led by former crack head prostitute Gayle Sweeny. The men get paired up with two boys. Wheeler gets Ronnie, a street-style little black kid with a foul mouth and lots of anti-social behavior, and Danny is matched with Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse—the famous McLovin’ from Superbad), a LARPer and the biggest dork in the world. Sweeny doesn’t trust the two men, which may be justified, and Ronnie and Wheeler bond over their shared interest in large breasts and Ronnie’s growing interest in Wheeler’s favorite band, Kiss. Danny, meanwhile, has a confrontation with the short-fused and all powerful ‘King’ of Augie’s LAIRE medieval battle group and Augie has been banned from the group. After Wheeler abandons Ronnie at a party in favor of sex with a girl he meets there, Sweeny gets them both kicked out of the program, the boys search for other mentors, and the situation between Danny and his lawyer girlfriend deterioriates. Everything comes to a head when Danny helps Christopher form a new LARP team with a surprising theme to battle the snippy little king and his minions.

Reader’s Annotation
Danny is depressed by his job as a salesman for Minotaur energy drink—Wheeler loves it. When they both get scout-ordered to work off a transgression through a mentoring program, their involvement with their new young charges involves live action role playing games and obsessive KISS fandom.

Not being a habitual renter of films with guys on the DVD cover drinking out of a paper bags, wearing an elf-warrior suit, and appearing to urinate on a wall, my expectations were not high, but Rolling Stone is right: “Sometimes a shamelessly stoopid, proudly profane R-rated comedy is all you want out of life”. Jane Lynch alone, as the ex-everything bad control freak founder of the mentor organization, is worth every minute that might be devoted to this film, but the LARPers are the raison d’etre of the whole production. It does have to be said that the character of Ronnie, the foul-mouthed, back-talking little black kid, is a tired movie stereotype, and Paul Rudd’s character, with its combination of upscale ambition and loser habits, doesn’t really make much sense.

About the author
Paul Rudd apparently rewrote the screenplay. He is an underrated comic actor.


Curriculum Ties
As with Superbad, it’s very entertaining to contemplate this, but I’ll have to go with no.

Booktalking Ideas

Talk about the absent dad factor in the story.
Characterize the film's portrayals of girlfriends

Reading Level/Interest Age
R-rated =over 17
Actual student interest= 8th grade through high school

Challenge Issues

“Rated R for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity”(Motion Picture Assoc of America).
Marijuana use
Uncomfortable juxtaposition of young child with partying behavior that might not be offensive in a fully adult context

Gather student responses
See accurate positive Guardian review at

Why Included?
Never got to try an RPG as I’d hoped, so took this recommendation from that group of kids.

Selection Tools
Student recommendation

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