Role Models Blu-ray Review
PictureRole Models comes to Blu-ray disc with a VC-1 encoded 1080p image, in its theatrically correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
Like many comedies of recent years, Role Models leans towards a somewhat softer colour scheme. It is primarily a palette of pastel shades and gentle hues. As such, the lack of vivacity doesn't engender the same kind of pop from the screen that one may normally associate with a Blu-ray release over its DVD sibling. It isn't that the image presented lacks dimensionality, rather that it simply has no great punch to produce from the constituent parts of its visuals. It is easy to assess thick blocks of colours that spring from the display, less so with those that are muted to some degree.
For its part, the disc brings these varying shades to life as well as could be expected. With one of the main canvasses for these hues being the clothing adorning the actors' backs, it is pleasing to note a good measure of detail in the various fabrics. The bright Californian sunshine doesn't overpower the image and although things can appear occasionally slightly washed out, this is probably more to do with the artistic choices of Director of Photography Russ T. Alsobrook who also worked on Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Contrast is generally strong, with blacks being solid and whites not susceptible to blooming.
There were a few occasions of some slight noise and softness to the picture, but these moments were very much in the minority in comparison to the rest of the consistent plus points evident over the film's duration. Skin tones were generally good but again, had a tendency to fluctuate slightly, with Rudd appearing a tad washed out and others sharing the frame with him sometimes almost a touch blotchy in the cheeks for my liking. This Blu-ray presentation stands as very much a case of being fairly good, but not demo material - there are no major problems and the disc's visuals merely serve to allow for a greater degree of detail and improved colour reproduction to be apparent to those viewing the film.
SoundThe sound options of the disc are bestowed with a lossless DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track (though if you're after Spanish or French language tracks, I'm afraid you'll have to make do with vanilla DTS 5.1).
As with any comedy, the vast majority of the work is performed by the centre channel - effects are all well and dandy but little becomes funny in a dialogue driven movie when speech is intelligible. Luckily, here the voices are never less than clear and crisp in their delivery. For the majority of the film, the soundstage is focussed squarely on the frontal array of speakers, but when crowd scenes appear on screen, the rear effects are utilised to some small and subtle degree. Bass also is unleashed only a few times, but does have a nice impact when needed to arise.
In truth, there isn't a great amount of complexity to the mix here as the centre is the mainstay upon which all else is tethered. There is little if any steerage and the result is fairly flat when compared to exemplary Blu-ray sonics. However, this is a comedy, and by that yardstick there can be little criticism of a track that replicates the sounds that are there with precision and clarity. There aren't many comedic movies that have the level of clarity to the acoustics found here. Like the image, not demo material, but devoid of any grand flaws and replete with a healthy amount of plus points to make it never less than a pleasure to listen to.
ExtrasFeature Commentary with Director/Co-writer David Wain
This is only available on the theatrical version of the film. There are a few interesting titbits buried beneath the wealth of filler, but the fact that this is a comedy and as such has no genuine depth to the imagery used, means that a multi-personnel track would have been far more appropriate and no doubt entertaining.
A bookmark tool that allows the user to create specific clips and save them for future viewing.
Deleted Scenes and Alternate Takes - 1080p - 49:49
Though the extensive running time of this extra, consisting of 41 separate clips, will perhaps please some, it becomes evidently clear early on into its duration why these particular scenes and takes weren't utilised in the final product. Usually I relish such footage, but here unfortunately most of it appears only too deserving of its final resting place on the cutting room floor. The vast majority being either too vulgar and making the characters seem cartoonish or just not being particularly funny. The film clearly became a tighter and stronger piece for the omission of these.
Bloopers - 1080p - 3:55
Various moments where the actors lost their composure, mainly due to improvised lines.
On The Set of Role Models - 1080p - 7:41
David Wain and others give us a peek behind the scenes of the Role Models set. As is usual with such features, we get to meet cast and crew and hear of the working relationships of those involved. Unusually for what tends to be nothing more than a TV slot EPK, this has some pretty foul language peppered throughout, thus actually feels closer to the movie than others of its kind.
Game On: Creating a Role-Playing World - 1080p - 9:43
This explains the depiction of LAIRE (Live Action Role Playing Experience), the film's version of LARP (Live Action Role Play) - essentially people running around hitting each other with foam swords. It is nice to see that they took it seriously enough to even employ a LARP technical advisor, but you can't help but feel the work of Jeff Imada as fight co-ordinator (whose previous credits include The Bourne Ultimatum and Supremacy) is a touch overkill. It's always nice to see more of Joe Lo Truglio as Kuzzik the Xanthian though.
In Character and Off Script - 1080p - 8:07
Three mini segments (consisting of Sturdy Wings salutes: Martin Gary, Kuzzik: Proud Xanthian and Davith of Glencracken) in which the actors who play Martin, Kuzzik and Davith (A.D. Miles, Joe Lo Truglio and Matt Walsh respectively) get to improvise a little about their characters.
This is a picture-in-picture feature that basically brings about a series of talking heads, be they cast or crew, to discuss particular moments of the film whilst it is playing. It actually has a fair amount of content to it, which raises the question why such things as alternate takes and the like were chosen to be buried in this extra rather than one which is arguably more fitting.
-Ye Olde Crest Maker
Choose from a meagre amount of templates and create a crest of your own - there are so few combinations that it feels more like a puzzle for a three year old and I have no desire to take up the offer of sharing it with my friends via BD Live.
- Inside Sturdy Wings - 480p
An interminable wait was followed by a video that stuttered and didn't allow me to pause. I know this probably says more about my download speed but in truth this simply annoyed me - why it couldn't be placed on the disc is beyond me.
To sum up, a decent selection of extras that perhaps falls down simply because they are spread too thinly. No one in their right mind will spend more than a few seconds with Ye Olde Crest Maker and the picture-in-picture clips for the U-Control feature could easily have been placed in sections whereby they are more easily accessed. Having become slightly used to comedies allowing for haphazard, slightly ramshackle affairs such as that found on the Step Brothers disc, to listen to a dry track that intends to merely inform rather than entertain is a little odd. In short, like the rest of the disc, it does enough to be considered sound, but just doesn't do anything truly remarkable.
VerdictRole Models isn't a classic comedy - it doesn't make the viewer believe they have watched something timeless. In many ways it is very much a film of the moment. The past decade has seen a progression and evolution of vulgar comedies, that, whilst containing wittiness never shy away from, and at times seem to revel in, the baser elements of making people laugh. Some of the lesser of these cinematic pieces have in fact had the greater stand out moments of hilarity, however it is the central story around which this funniness is grown upon that ultimately decides whether it endures or not. Here, the premise is strong enough to allow for this to be a pleasurable experience, yet there are enough hackneyed moments that it still falls closer to being part of the conveyor-belt of such films that continue to be pushed out by studios to ever decreasing profits. I for one do not have a problem with this, as I can quite happily sit through an absurdist vision of idiotic proportions so long as it makes me laugh at some point - this did so.
Picture and sound are catered for in much the same way as the script and pacing - enough to warrant the tag of being labelled a good end product, without actually being exemplary in any one field. A couple of very minor problems don't detract from an image with great detail and capable colour reproduction. The audio suffers slightly from being flat, but this is a criticism that can be aimed at almost any comedy, and as such it seems a little churlish to hold this against it.
Extras were a little underwhelming for me, as though there appears to be a healthy amount of them present on the disc, none stand out as being top notch. There were never likely to be any revelations or appraisals of underlying messages, but more involvement from Rudd, Scott and the two younger actors would have been very welcome.
Overall, a solid offering that does many things very well but doesn't push for greatness in any specific area. Satisfying, but not stellar.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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