Wheeler's happy with the gig: It gives him plenty of time to pursue the ladies. But Danny, in his mid-30s, is feeling miserable: He hates his job, and complains incessantly to lawyer girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks - her third movie in as many weeks, after W. and Zack and Miri Make a Porno). A trip to a chain coffee place, where Danny goes into a rant about the tall/grande/venti sizing system, offers a (funny) illustration of just how sour and curmudgeonly he's become.
And then: the day it falls apart. Beth breaks up with Danny, and Danny and Wheeler crash their Minotaur-mobile, destroying public property in the process. In lieu of jail, Beth negotiates community service: Danny and Wheeler must spend 150 hours in a Big Brothers-like outfit called Sturdy Wings. Danny gets a dweeby fantasy game obsessive, Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad's McLovin), as his protege. Wheeler gets Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson), a foul-mouthed, fatherless 10-year-old.
Role Models, written by a bunch of folks (including Rudd) is directed by David Wain, late of the comedy troupe The State and director of Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten. It's pretty formulaic stuff, and earns its R rating with profanity and unapologetically gratuitous female nudity, but somehow has a winning knuckleheaded charm.
Jane Lynch just about steals the show with her performance as the garrulous head of Sturdy Wings - a woman who wears her own addictions (cocaine) like a badge of honor. (Or like a billboard.) This recovering addict doesn't think much of Danny and Wheeler, and the two goof-offs don't behave in a manner to make her think otherwise. At least, not at first.
A live-action, loopy, medieval-battle role-playing event is without a doubt where Role Models delivers the most laughs: Danny and Wheeler, with their two young charges, join the nerdy, armor-clad throng in a Los Angeles park, crossing swords, striking down the enemy armies and addressing one another as "thou" and "my liege."
It doth make one amused.
Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://go.philly.com/onmovies.