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Before Paul Rudd's bona fide leading man era, and sadly after Sean William Scott's, we got Role Models, a 2008 David Wain movie that arrived to little fanfare but went big on jokes, including what must have been a painfully expensive final scene at a LARPing tournament, and a seemingly lost Wings song as just two of the film's best centerpiece jokes. It's on Netflix right now, and it's the perfect time to revisit the movie.
Role Models follows Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott), two salesmen who, after a driving-while-under-the-influence-of-an-irresponsible-amount-of-energy-drinks mishap, find themselves in a community service program to avoid jail. Their service? To enrich the lives of America's youth through a Big Brothers-style program. Their wards end up being nerd-ass LARPer Augie (Christopher Mitntz-Plasse, hot off his Superbad star turn) and Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson, a born star), who is responsible for the vast majority of brutal, vile put downs in this film.
What helps set Role Models apart from the very Apatow, very male films from the same era is the more human touches from director/screenwriter Wain and his stars. Scott is a deceptively sensitive and vulnerable actor, and both Wheeler and Ronnie end up learning from each other that overconfident bluster can get you through the day, sure, but you're going to end up scared and alone. Rudd's storyline of becoming less self-interested via caring for a noble nerd isn't as interesting, but we get to see him effectively bully an entire roster of medieval role-players, so I'll take it.
Then there's the eternal, confounding mystery of the "Wings" song that never was, but who everyone but Danny insists is a Wings song, one of their "hits from the '70s." I don't know where this joke came from, but I am obsessed with it. Wain even hired a Paul McCartney soundalike to record the song itself.
Wain's idiosyncratic writing style very rarely earns his work acknowledgement in its own moment (everyone slept on They Came Together and I will never forgive you) but Role Models might be his most immediately-recognized mainstream film hit ever. If you haven't seen it yet, or just want to see it again in between rewatched of Wet Hot American Summer, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.