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Film / Role Models

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Role Models is a 2008 American comedy film directed by David Wain about two energy drink salesmen who are ordered to perform 150 hours of community service as punishment for various offenses. For their service, the two men work at a youth mentoring program designed to pair kids with adult role models. The film stars Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb EJ Thompson, Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong, and Elizabeth Banks.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Seann William Scott plays a sex-obsessed, rowdy guy who goes on a last name basis, and said last name ends in "-er". Subverted a bit in that Stifler is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, while Wheeler is a pretty good guy at face value (unlike Danny, he tries to make the best of his time with Ronnie from the start) and even likes his job of telling kids to stay off drugs, even if he doesn't abide by it himself.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Subverted. Augie is "king" for about thirty seconds, before Lady Esplin (Sarah) "kills" him and becomes queen instead.
    • Reverted when she asks him to be her king.
  • Batman Gambit: Danny and Augie pull this off during the Battle Royale. Danny pretends to be wounded, knowing King Argotron will want to finish him personally. Augie takes this opportunity to eliminate the rest of Argotron's guards and face him one-on-one.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Augie's parents at first seem like decent enough people who just don't quite understand their son's passion. After Augie is banned from LARPing, however, they reveal themselves to be very selfish, judgmental, and highly dismissive of their son and his interests. It doesn't help that one is a stepdad who clearly sees him as unwanted baggage. They do start to come around in the end after seeing their son participate in a full-scale LARPing session in the climax of the movie.
  • Bland-Name Product: Minotaur, an obvious stand-in for Red Bull.
  • Bromantic Comedy: Not so much between the main characters, but moreover between their respective kids they have to look after.
  • The Casanova/Lovable Sex Maniac: Wheeler. Ronnie is a junior version of this.
  • Character Catchphrase: "Game Face!"
  • Character Development: Danny becomes more willing to do stuff he doesn't normally do and starts to enjoy his life, Wheeler becomes more responsible as a person, Augie becomes more confident, and Ronnie becomes less of a foul mouthed douche.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Gail Sweeney.
  • The Cynic: Danny has become incredibly jaded by his work, which has unfortunately bled into his social interactions by the start of the movie. Him learning to loosen up and see the positive side of things is his character arc.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Danny. He's played by Paul Rudd, what did you expect?
    • Gail is a wannabe but most of her snark attempts end up as Metaphorgotten.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Paraphrased in an actual line by Gail and her magical bagel dog.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The purported Public Service Announcement behind Minotaur's school marketing campaign. Predictably subverted when we see Wheeler privately smoking a joint.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One thing Wheeler and Ronnie have in common.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Danny won his girlfriend back after he finally began to enjoy his life, Wheeler has a "little brother" of sorts, Augie beat the king of LAIRE and got to be with the girl he liked (who throughout the movie has been getting more and more exasperated in her attempts to be with him), and Ronnie finally has someone to look up to who won't walk out of his life like his dad did. Oh, and neither Danny or Wheeler have to go to jail because Gail used to give the judge assigned to their case blowjobs for drugs.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Danny and Wheeler verbally dismantling a kid who heckles them shows you exactly what kind of adults they are.
    Kid: Hey nice cow outfit. Where can I pick one of those up at, the gay zoo? Homo.
    Danny: No, no. It's not a cow. It's a a minotaur. It's a creature of myth. And he got this one out of your mom's closet.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ronnie, somewhat. Wheeler uses this to his advantage to bond with him.
  • Friendship Denial:
    Wheeler: "You ready, pal?"
    Ronnie: "I ain't your pal, vanilla."
    • And then later with Danny and Wheeler:
    Wheeler: "You are a S-H-I-T-T-Y friend.
    Danny: "I am not your friend."
  • Hello, Attorney!: Played by Elizabeth Banks. Hello, indeed.
  • Ironic Birthday
  • Insult Backfire: Danny and Wheeler react to Gail's attempts at abuse more with bemusement than anything else.
    Gail: Well, well, well. If it isn't Mr. Bullshit and Dr. I'm-Full-Of-Shit?
    Wheeler: In what way are we full of shit?
    Danny: Which one of us has the Ph.D?
  • Intercourse with You: Wheeler teaches Ronnie what the songs of KISS are all about.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Danny. The "jerk" part is definitely shown in the coffee shop scene, where he insults the barista who undoubtedly didn't come up with the names.
    • Gail as well — despite being arrogant and authoritative, she still sees the best in Danny and Wheeler.
    • A more subtle example might be the King Of Laire. He takes Laire too seriously (to the point of cheating), but does allow Augie to fight in the Battle Royale, and is also Nice to the Waiter in the diner he frequents. It's probable that a decent amount of his jerkish tendencies are derived from his Laire character.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Wheeler dives in front of Danny to save him in the battle royale.
  • Large Ham: Gail Sweeney, the head of Sturdy Wings. She's a pompous, no-nonsense alcoholic who holds her head high and delivers a condescending speech to Danny and Wheeler.
  • Last-Name Basis: Wheeler. It's mentioned when he is introduced to Ronnie that Wheeler's first name is "Anson."
  • LARP: Despite the running cracks by the other characters not involved with LARP until the royale, it is portrayed as a good, if niche and nerdy, way of social interaction, especially for someone like Augie who doesn't fit in elsewhere.
  • Mama Bear: Ronnie's mother describes herself as one of these to Wheeler after Ronnie walked all the way home from a party Wheeler took him to.
  • Manchild: Both Danny and Wheeler are this to some extent.
    • Wheeler is in his 30s and is more interesting in partying hard and having sex than anything else.
    • Danny is an emotionally immature and impulsive slacker whose bitterness over the fact that he's been on a rut for 10 years makes him unable to appreciate his life and those around him.
  • Mouthy Kid: Ronnie, a middle school boy of hilarious retorts and apparently vast cinematographic knowledge.
    Danny: Pick us up in two hours.
    Ronnie: Fuck you, Miss Daisy.
  • No Antagonist: While King Argotron is considered an antagonist, at least some of his nastiness is him roleplaying. The other characters in the film all have redeeming qualities too.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Cassadonian armies. Special mention to Davith of Glencracken, The Dragon of King Argotron. He unfailingly follows Argotron's orders, indulges in his King's lies and schemes, and, when in character, is cruel and heartless. The moment he "dies", he is immensely affable.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Wheeler and Ronnie are the red to Danny and Augie's blue.
  • Running Gag: "Love take me down to the streets..."
    • The constant gay jokes about the guys who play LAIRE.
    • Ronnie repeatedly calling Danny "Ben Affleck."
    • Gail taking every opportunity in every conversation to spuriously work in a reference to her cocaine addiction.
  • Serious Business: LAIRE is the epitome of this trope.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Chipmunk Charlie’s.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Quite a lot during the battle royale.
  • That Came Out Wrong: A running gag is that a character will say something that sounds perverse. Some examples include:
    "It's my job to service these boys."
    "Let us gently touch our tips."
    "Smell that bush."
  • Watch It Stoned: When Wheeler and Connie overdose on Ambien and try to have sex.
  • Waxing Lyrical: A character trait of Danny's, with movie quotes and songs. While it is used for a few gags, it seems to be something he defaults to when he can't think of something more honest and real to say in a given situation, like when he's trying to win his girlfriend back or apologize to the King of LAIRE on Augie's behalf.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Danny and Wheeler get so many of these it's not funny. The biggest one is when Wheeler took Ronnie to a party and left him with a guy playing Xbox to get laid, then Ronnie left and walked all the way home.