Comedies these days can often fall into the dumb, teen humor that involves lots of drinking and fart jokes. And comedies with kids in them can often be insipid or have too much of the sugary sweet, cute factor. But now we have one that is actually funny, and has some edge, without being laden with college humor.
Wheeler (Sean William Scott) and Danny (Paul Rudd) are energy drink salesmen. Wheeler loves the job as it allows him to live his happy-go-lucky party life-style. Danny has been doing it too long and hates his life without actually doing anything about it. After a bad day of Danny lashing out, the pair find themselves facing jail time or 150 hours of community service. They pick community service, as Big Brothers.
Now, of course, seeing as these two are both fairly dysfunctional each in their own way for men in their 30’s, this can’t possibly be a good idea for them or the kids they mentor. But for us, the audience, it’s pretty hilarious.
Sean William Scott is pretty funny, but he sort of plays a character similar to others he’s portrayed. Paul Rudd, on the other hand, plays his self-loathing yet condescending Danny to dry, sarcastic perfection. He hates everything and makes sure his girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks), and everyone else, know it. He gets a lot of funny lines, perhaps the most, though a close second would have to be either Bobb’e J. Thompson as Ronnie, Wheeler’s little “Brother”, who is hilarious with his huge attitude and filthy mouth (without being cliché), and Jane Lynch as Gayle Sweeny, the Big Brother organization’s creator and owner.
Quite frankly, Lynch may actually steal the film with her character’s funny, post drug use brain producing almost nonsensical and inappropriate statements. As you may have seen in the ads, she says to Danny and Wheeler, “I’m not here to service you two, I’m here to service these young boys!” Paul Rudd’s expression of confusion and distaste is perfect.
Danny mentors a teenager, Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a kid VERY dependent on his live action fantasy role-playing game life. He’s a serious nerd, but a good kid. You’ll recognize him as McLovin’ from “Superbad”.
Certainly in a way the story arc of these two guys is kinda predictable as they learn a little about themselves and life as they both either grow up, learn to be less selfish, and change their attitude. But the journey is funny and full of references to the band Kiss and lots of that live action fantasy role playing and people speaking in “Ye Olde English”.
I laughed quite a bit through this movie. There’s some mildly risqué humor and one or two moments of brief topless nudity (yay!), but stays relevant to the story and rather harmless. And of course, there’s quite a bit of language. This is definitely not for the youngsters.
Bottom line: it’s funny, with great performances, particularly Jane Lynch and Paul Rudd. Yes, sir. I liked it!
—Neil T. Weakley, also not likely a choice role model.