Romp through male (im)maturity charming enough

‘Role Models’

Rated R

Grade: B

Opens Nov. 7

I admit it: I rolled my eyes at the thought of yet another movie about reluctantly maturing man-boys. Fortunately, “Role Models” follows more in the charming/heartwarming tradition of male gross-out movies (think “American Pie” and “Knocked Up”) rather than just plain crude (think “American Pie 2").

Danny (Paul Rudd) is stuck in a rut and bitter about life. He detests his job of escorting around his party-boy friend Wheeler (Seann Willliam Scott as a full-grown Stifler from “American Pie”) promoting an ultra-caffeinated “energy” beverage to kids. Danny’s longtime girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) dumps him, sending him over the edge and he and Wheeler into the arms of the law and 150 hours of court-mandated community service mentoring young boys.

Let the games begin.

If you want to enjoy the remaining hour or so of the film, try to forget how unlikely it is that a judge would order two convicted criminals to spend so many unsupervised hours with young boys. It’s a little difficult to shake off the “ewwww” factor of the sexualization of the younger of the mentees (Bobb’e J. Thompson) paired with Wheeler.

Sure, you can snicker when a disrespectful kid puts a grown fool like Wheeler in his place with a few choice (if vulgar) insults. But placing a 10-year-old boy in overtly sexual conversations with adults? That was hard to take.

For the most part, this romp through male (im)maturity shows off some quirky characters, snappy comebacks and memorable references to pop culture icons ranging from Marvin Hamlisch to Kiss. And consider the teen geek torch officially passed to Christopher Mintz-Plasse, whose character makes you want go back to high school and play a few games with those Dungeons & Dragons kids yourself.