Role Models, Sean William Scott, Paul Rudd

Sam Urdank/Universal Studios

Review in a Hurry: A buddy comedy that's neither buddyish nor funny in the early going, but finally shapes up in the end. 

The Bigger Picture: The premise of Role Models doesn't have much to live up to—boorish, cynical thirtysomethings forced to act their age or face jail time—and yet for the first third of the film it looks like even the lowest expectations won't be met.

It's practically unwatchable; the usually reliable Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott are hamstrung by a severely truncated, nonsensical setup and editing that absolutely kills the comic timing. Several scenes were clearly (and hastily) cut to the bone to get things moving, in a way that might make you want to move right out of your seat.

It's not often that a film with mortifying first-act problems redeems itself, but somehow Role Models manages to grow in parallel with its characters. Shoehorned into a Big Brother-type program, naysayer Danny (Rudd) and crass frat boy Wheeler (Scott) get saddled with the worst of the worst: a pint-sized foulmouth (Bobb'e J. Thompson) and a nerd who spends most of his time in a fantasy world (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin).

Somehow everyone grows, lessons are learned, relationships are repaired—and even though it all happens exactly like you'd expect, the film manages to eke out just enough laughs to make up for the heinous beginning. By the end you're willing to forgive, if not forget—but like a friend you stick to out of loyalty, you'll wish they'd just done right from the start.

The 180—a Second Opinion: It's a lot like those myriad '80s Animal House imitators, and nobody wants to live through that again.

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