Role Models & r & & r & by ED SYMKUS & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & couple of slacker guys are partnered in a dead-end job. They visit high schools together, where one of them gives an anti-drug pep talk while swigging from a can of their company's product -- Minotaur Energy Drink -- and the other parades around the auditorium stage in full minotaur costume. It's a far better vice than drugs!

Just one problem: Both of them get all hopped up on Minotaur power, and the pep talks become ... well, something else.

Not a bad premise for a goofy comedy. But it's soon revealed that it's only a springboard to the real story: Frustration and too much Minotaur leads to a run-in with the law, then a choice of either 30 days in jail or 150 hours of community service, hanging out, & lt;a href="" target="_new" & Big Brother & lt;/a & -style, with at-risk kids, one for each of them.

If the two lead characters -- Danny ( & lt;a href="" target="_new" & Paul Rudd & lt;/a & ) and Wheeler ( & lt;a href="" target="_new" & Seann William Scott & lt;/a & ) -- were somehow able to have read the script before making their choice, they might have gone for the pokey, as the kids they're assigned -- now we're getting down to the nitty gritty of the film -- are the stuff of nightmares.

It's not till after we've had a quick character study of our two protagonists (Danny hates the job, where he's been for 10 years; Wheeler loves it - and acts as a sort of company cheerleader) that they meet their charges; till they become, against their wills, and under the tyrannical rule of the program's director (Jane Lynch), "bigs helping littles."

The littles are shy Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse -- you know him as McLovin), who has self-esteem problems and a love for medieval re-enactment games; and Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson), who displays a bit of a cussing problem. (Hell, he has a fouler mouth than De Niro did in any number of mobster films.) Mintz-Plasse goes the sad-eyed sympathetic comedy route, while the much younger Thompson has an all-cylinders-burning raucous and nasty approach. Both are perfect in their parts.

The gist of the film is that these two anti-role models are thrown together with two kids who really need role models. There are plenty of good comic situations, ranging from the opposing personalities of Danny (he's droll and grumpy) and Wheeler (he's a good-hearted wack job) to the relationship they have with their temporary tough-as-nails boss, who keeps bringing up her "bad old days" and threatens to open up a can of whoop-ass on these guys if they screw up.

Even though the busy script (four writers, yikes!) has some fresh ideas, the film ends up heading down a predictable road: The kids don't get along with the adults, then they do, then they don't, and so on.

But mixed in among the many scenes that are riotously funny and the few that are uncomfortably serious, we get a nod to KISS, some instruction in the use of Ambien as a sex aid, a great series of Ben Affleck gags, and a nod to & lt;a href="" target="_new" & Marvin Hamlisch & lt;/a & .

The intended young audience will never have heard of Hamlisch, of course, but then, with an R rating for crude language and some sexual content, they won't even be able to get in to see it. (Rated R)

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