Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 13 November 2008
- Written by Administrator
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
A crude, rude buddy film not by Apatow? Yes, people, it can be done – the crude and rude part all too often, it seems, with varying results.
Energy drink ambassadors Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) drive a Minotaur truck. Wheeler dons a Minotaur suit and Danny extols the virtues of the beverage to high school students while nearly high on it. The anti-drug message is ironic and not lost on the cynical Danny. Wheeler is just a big clown having fun.
The two get reckless with public and company property, wind up under arrest, and require the services of Danny’s lawyer/girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) to get their sentence commuted to community service. Beth promptly ditches Danny after completing her good deed.
Sentenced to 150 hours each of participation in Sturdy Wings, a mentoring program similar to Big Brothers, where at-risk youth benefit from having male role models,
the two pals reluctantly assume hang-out duty with Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) a medieval role-playing aficionado and Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson) an ill-tempered pint-sized African American youngster whose vocabulary could shame a sailor. Forced community service makes for dedicated volunteers, no? No!
Sturdy Wings is run by recovering drug addict Gayle Sweeney (Jane Lynch). Sweeney is so suspicious and paranoid that you’d think she was sneaking a few tokes herself now and again. She threatens the pair with expulsion and jail time if they screw up in her program. She also toys with bagel dogs in a suggestive manner, but hey, she’s off the hard stuff and has to find alternate ways of getting her kicks.
Danny’s partner, Augie has a mother and belittling stepfather who misunderstand him and his obsession with the medieval video game L.A.I.R.E. Wheeler’s assigned charge, Ronnie, has a loving single mom, and no way to account for his unending stream of precocious profanity and diabolical behavior. It just makes for a funnier series of gags, or so the writers hoped. The two teams begin a rocky association filled with the mutual suspicion that a forced pairing inspires.
The story arc must follow the well worn path of alienation, distrust, and hatred between the matched-up foursome before it bursts forth with insight, revelation and total acceptance. Everyone discovers something they never knew before - except the audience, who discovers early that they have an uncanny telepathy when it comes to unfolding events. Will Beth and Danny reunite? How about Ronnie and Wheeler’s relationship? Danny and Augie’s? Anyone and Sweeney’s? And what does the rock band Kiss have to do with anything? You’ll know it before you see it.
Paul Rudd co-wrote the script (with Ken Marino, Timothy Dowling, and Director David Wain) and unfortunately shows us that he has ingested all of the Hollywood penchant for predictable scenarios and is fully able to regurgitate them when called upon. His character’s transformation seems too hasty and insincere. Seann William Scott has a mischievous face that can easily pull off hijinx more challenging than this tepid affair. Elizabeth Banks inhabits a mere walk-through character, convenient only as a Danny touchstone.
Jayne Lynch is the sole bright spot within the film. Her Gayle Sweeney deserves a starring vehicle based on that character’s clueless but confident persona. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is typecast as a nebbish, but pulls it off so well that it’s hard to see him as anything else. Bobb’e J. Thompson is made to be a one-note character, so belligerent that it’s hard to see him as a child in need of anything other than a duct tape gag to stop his endless insults.
Director David Wain (TV’s Wainy Days, Stella) has assembled a talented cast, but given them a script that hits and misses so much within a predictable storyline that you don’t really care what happens by film’s end. Crude is a poor substitute for clever, but apparently much easier to pull off.
Although she makes a good case for the film’s watchability when she’s onscreen, even Lynch can’t save this mediocre medieval mess with a pair of her own Sturdy Wings; remember, Icarus thought he had them, too.