Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd (who co-wrote the screenplay) star as energy drink pitchmen whose bad behavior puts them in a community service position where, for over 100 hours, they must inspire the lives of unruly children. The two leads have been cast according to their familiar comic personas—while both have shined in dramatic roles (particularly Rudd, an accomplished Broadway actor), they’ve been cast here in the kind of goofball parts that made them famous. They make an acceptable comedy team and are clearly willing to do anything for a laugh.
As for the movie itself, nobody who pays to see this is going to care how predictable, relentlessly vulgar and formulaic it is. In fact, putting good taste aside, I laughed a lot; this has some of the funniest one-liners of the year.
The screenplay is sneakily clever, with quips about Marvin Hamlisch and Federico Fellini snuck into the mix of one-liners involving male and female genitalia. The film is similar in a lot of ways to Step Brothers but more inventive; the story is familiar but the laughs rarely stop. This plays like one of the better Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell comedies.
The only part of the movie that doesn’t work is the love story, featuring Elizabeth Banks as Rudd’s girlfriend. Banks is wasted and little is done with her character; they may as well have cast an unknown for such a thankless role. On the other hand, Kate Lynch is a riot as an off-kilter supervisor and Joe Lo Truglio (of Reno 911!), cast as an insanely dedicated Renaissance re-enactor, brings his comic turn to a level of madcap art. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (the Superbad scene stealer) is completely typecast as a hopeless nerd and, while he gives it everything he’s got, I can’t help but worry that this guy is going to be playing variations on McLovin until he’s 97.
Director David Wain also helmed the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer, which similarly took a typical comedy vehicle and turned it on its ear. Prepare to laugh. A lot. MTW