Role Models Movie Poster Image

Role Models



Coarse adult comedy elicits some big laughs.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Dysfunctional mentoring and parenting galore, including a couple who sees nothing wrong in verbally tearing down their son -- they make fun of his hobbies and talk about him as if he's a nerd. Men objectify women, some of whom appear to enjoy being objectified. Two men don't appear sorry for the misdeeds that land them in community service. Still, somehow, the film manages to be heartwarming, showing the transformation of two men from callow to caring.

Positive role models

Underneath a lot of humorous stuff two unlikely men become ROLE MODELS.


Two friends have a heavy-duty argument and tussle with the cops. A young man participates in medieval battle reenactments that involve weaponry made out of foam. A man crashes a truck into a statue in a fit of anger, which nearly lands him and his friend in jail.


Some partial nudity (breasts and a man's naked backside), which both a grown-up and a child seem to obsess over. A presumably naked couple makes out under the sheets (their bare shoulders are seen). An adult has explicit conversations about sex, offering detailed information to kids who are clearly too young for such discussions. References to a mother being a "whore." Shots of cleavage; a woman grabs a man's testicles and propositions him. A woman pushes a hot dog out of a bagel in a suggestive manner.


As crude as can be, featuring everything from "whore" and "beeyotch" to "a--hole" and "f--k." In fact, the "F" word seems to be a favorite expletive, even among kids. One young character is particularly foul-mouthed.


Mentions of Ambien and the movie Reindeer Games, plus shots of signage for a burger restaurant and the fictional energy drink company that Wheeler and Danny work for.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A woman who's no longer a user nevertheless details her former cocaine habit whenever she gets the chance. A couple trips on Ambien. Some tongue-in-cheek discussions about why kids should avoid drugs, plus some scenes of social drinking, including around children.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though the cast includes young kids, this crass, Judd Apatow-esque comedy about dysfunctional mentors bases much of its humor on gross-out situations, sexual innuendo (as well as a little partial nudity), and near-incessant swearing. Old, young, man, woman -- everyone seems blessed with a potty mouth. Grown-ups discuss sex and other adult topics with children, many of whom seem incorrigible and precocious. There's also some drinking and discussion of drugs. It's all played for laughs, but it's not meant for kids.

What's the story?

Danny Donahue's (Paul Rudd) life is about to go from bad to worse. He's bored in his dead-end job selling energy drinks to school kids, and his girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) -- fed up with his constant whining -- seems ready to leave him. Thinking marriage will liven things up, he proposes -- but she says no and breaks up with him instead. With his vulgar-but-sweet coworker Wheeler (Seann William Scott) by his side, Danny goes ballistic, ramming his work truck into a statue and tussling with the cops. The brouhaha lands them at Sturdy Wings, a Big Brother-type organization where they must perform community service by logging 150 hours as mentors to two kids: Augie, (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) a teenage nerd determined to spend life in a fantasy world, and Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson), an insulting, potty-mouthed 10-year-old. Will they ever get along, and can they all learn from each other?

Is it any good?


Loud, lewd, formulaic, and, yes, hilarious, ROLE MODELS is a mish-mash -- everything from medieval reenactments to middle school shares screen time -- that's hugely fun to watch. Rudd is a malcontent extraordinaire. Danny is joyless, picks fights with baristas over how their coffee is named, delivers anti-drug speeches as if he's heavily tranquilized, and can't be bothered to act like a decent boyfriend. But here's the thing: No matter how crass and negative he gets, he's still likeable, and Rudd's innate amiability serves him well in the role. Scott has a little less to work with -- he ratchets up the doofus level a bit too much -- but he still manages to be winning.

That said, it's the "little brothers" -- they call them "littles" -- who steal the show, especially Thompson, who seems, in the best way, a loose little cannon (his command of swear words shocks and awes). As the loopy, edgy Sturdy Wings director, Jane Lynch is inspired casting, but Banks is window dressing, as is some of the crazy-quilt plot. Bottom line? Role Models is no comedy classic (Judd Apatow, you can keep your crown), and sometimes it feels like director David Wain barely retains control. But funny? For the most part, it is.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Danny and Wheeler are good role models. If yes, why? If not, why not?

  • How would you describe their relationships with the kids they're

  • supposed to mentor?

  • Is their transformation believable? Families can

  • also discuss Danny's dilemma: How can you be joyful when you feel

  • defeated and frustrated?

  • Also, how does this movie fit in with other

  • recent "hard-R" comedies? Is it as raunchy?

  • Do you think it's meant to

  • appeal to the same audience?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 7, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:March 10, 2009
Cast:Jane Lynch, Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott
Director:David Wain
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBrando804 August 22, 2009

Perfect comedy for 14-15+

Probably my most favorite comedy of all time. It contains nothing that the average 13-year-old has not seen or heard.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written bymattatcommonsence June 24, 2009

16 and older

REALLY FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY INAPROPREITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A LOT OF LANGUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 9 year old Written bymomofdaughters January 30, 2010

Don't waste your time

This movie is awful. There is extremely foul language throughout, as well as nudity. I was so disturbed that a parent would even allow their children, in the film, to say/hear the things taking part in the film. I wouldn't waste your time on this film. It is NOT for children of any age. The adult 'role models' in this film are no where near a role model I would hope for any child.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking