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For those who take comfort in the tried and true, ROLE MODELS ($40) features a few familiar faces from the Judd Apatow comedy factory, as well as offering the same tasty mixture of crude, vulgar comedy on the outside and nougaty sweet humor on the inside. Personally, I enjoyed ROLE MODELS, and laughed consistently throughout its running time; however, the movie never had me rolling out of my seat the way THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN did. The plot of ROLE MODELS follows energy drink salesmen Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott), who spend their days promoting their product to school kids by coating it in a corporate anti-drug message. Danny is rapidly growing tired of his lot in life and begins taking his bitterness out on the world, which does not go unnoticed by his live in attorney girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks). During the course of a very bad day, Beth dumps Danny; the presentation and one of the high schools doesn't go well; and to make matters worse Danny discovers the corporate vehicle is about to be towed from outside the school. Of course, Danny tries to reason with the tow truck driver, and when that doesn't work, he tries to extricate the vehicle the tow truck by sheer horsepower.

The end result- Danny and Wheeler are facing thirty days of jail time. Fortunately for both of them, Beth is able to get the judge to agree to community service, instead of incarceration. Then they learn that their community service is to be served at the judge's favorite charity, a big-brother style program called Sturdy Wings, which is run by Gayle Sweeny (Jane Lynch). Since Danny and Wheeler are not typical volunteers, Gayle is able to assign them the two most difficult boys in the program. Wheeler is assigned Ronnie Shields (Bobb'e J. Thompson), a foulmouthed little wiseacre, who goes out of his way to give everyone a hard time. Danny, on the other hand, is paired up with Augie Farks (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a quiet, nerdy teenager, who is obsessed with a fantasy role-playing game that has taken over every aspect of his existence. As you might expect, Danny and Wheeler don't immediately hit it off with their new charges, but by the time the movieís feel-good ending rolls around, the relationships vastly improve. The cast of ROLE MODELS also includes Ken Jeong, Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney, A.D. Miles, Joe Lo Truglio, Matt Walsh, Nicole Randall Johnson, Alexandra Stamler, Carly Craig, Jessica Morris, Vincent Martella, Armen Weitzman, Jorma Taccone and Nate Hartley.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made ROLE MODELS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Both the Theatrical Cut and Unrated Version of the film are contained on the Blu-ray. The 1080p presentations are very pleasing, as ROLE MODELS was shot in the same bright attractive style as so many other comedies. There is a good level of sharpness, image detail and dimensionality, but there are no complexities to the cinematography. Some shots look a hair softer than others, but it all comes across very nicely. Colors are warm and rendered at a natural level of saturation. Blacks are deep, whites are clean, plus the contrast and shadow detail is just fine. The elements from which ROLE MODELS have been transferred donít display any significant flaws. A fine sheen of grain is noticeable during the presentation.

ROLE MODELS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Due to a few action oriented moments, ROLE MODELS comes with a better than expected comedy mix. During the active moments, the outlying channels engage nicely. That said; much of ROLE MODELS plays in the talky comedy mode, with much of the sound front and center. Still, there are plenty ambient sounds and musical fill spread throughout the soundstage. Fidelity is strong and the track has a decent bottom end. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director/co-writer David Wain. Featurettes include: On The Set of Role Models (seven minutes), Game On: Creating A Role Playing World (nine minutes) and In-Character & Off-Script (eight minutes). Deleted Scenes and Alternative Takes, as well as Bloopers are also provided. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements (requires a Profile 1.1 player). ROLE MODELS is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

While I didn't bust a gut laughing, I still had a good time with ROLE MODELS. The Blu-ray presentation doesn't disappoint in terms of visual and audio quality. Definitely worth checking out.



Role Models [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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