Step Brothers (2008)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment 2-Disc Edition)
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Overall Rating 64%
Overall Rating
Ranked #485
...out of 12,370 movies
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Two aimless middle-aged losers still living at home are forced against their will to become roommates when their parents marry. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 19, 2008
There will always be something appealing to me about an Adam McKay comedy. I consider his first feature film, "Anchorman", to be one of the finest comedies ever made, and certainly one of the most entertaining Will Ferrell films to date. His second outing "Talladega Nights", on the other hand, offered very little in the form of entertainment. So, I walked into "Step Brothers" with a wee bit of hesitation, not sure if I would be rewarded with the former or tortured with the latter. Most Will Ferrell comedies these days are either hit or miss, and it seems like most of his latest ones have been definitely present on the 'miss' side of the fence. John C. Reilly, however, has been on a role with his choice in comedies, most notably the hysterical "Walk Hard" from last year. So, putting these two together again was probably a good idea - right? Well, "Step Brothers" is funny. It's a hell of a lot funnier than "Talladega Nights". There were a couple of moments in the film that made me laugh harder than I had laughed in a while. The problem is that the central theme in the film is not enough to carry it for close to two hours. While watching "Step Brothers", I couldn't help but feel I was watching an extended Saturday Night Live skit. One that went on for too long.

The films stars Richard Jenkins as Dr. Robert Doback who, at a conference, meets Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen). The two fall for one another and end up getting married. This comes as a shock to Robert's son Dale (John C. Reilly) and Nancy's son Brennan (Will Ferrell), two forty-year-old men who both live with their parents and haven't amounted to anything. Nancy moves in with Robert, and Brennan comes with her. Brennan and Dale are immediately at odds with one another, going out of their respective ways to make one another miserable. Robert and Nancy have nothing to do but sit back and watch. However, when they finally decide enough is enough, they give the two men an ultimatum - find a place to live and a job and get the hell out. Now, joined by a common goal, Brennan and Dale become friends, doing everything they were never able to do with their siblings. I won't give anything away in regards to the ending of the film, except to say that it involves the Catalina Wine Mixer and some delicious opera singing and one of the best sequences of flashbacks I have seen in a film in a long time. "Step Brothers" runs on a stream of consciousness storyline that has fizzled out long before its phenomenal ending.

The saddest part of "Step Brothers" is that there are segments of the film that are funnier than anything else I've seen this year. The ending of the film is also hysterical, but we've grown so tired of these characters, at that point, that the ending loses most of its satirical punch. My favorite part of the entire film was the Catalina Wine Mixer, especially the two dream sequences involving Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, one as a lumberjack and one as a menotaur. I also had a fondness for the interactions between Richard Jenkins and Ferrell's younger brother, played by Adam Scott. These characters all had interesting dynamics with one another, but you can only run a joke so far. That is what made "Anchorman" so memorable, for me, was that they relied on so many different types of humor and so many different comedic executions. In "Step Brothers", it's the same joke over and over again with the same pay-off. That said, the film still made me laugh, while is probably why I will still give the film a mild recommendation. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

As for the performances, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly do a damned fine job of turning themselves into forty-year-old losers, but the jokes they are given to sustain that guise do not measure up. At some point, you start viewing their characters as pathetic rather than sympathetic and then they lose most of their ability to make us laugh. When their characters come 'full circle' at the end, we are able to laugh with them again because they've grown up just a little. Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen offer admirable support in some very humorous turns as their frustrated parents, even though Mary Steenburgen still looks too young to be a mother, though she is old enough to be a grandmother. Rob Riggle has a nice supporting role here, as does Adam Scott as Ferrell's younger brother, who gets a hysterical introduction involving a car ride sing-a-long with his family.

So, the verdict is in and "Step Brothers" squeezes by...but just barely. I will recommend it only because it made me laugh quite a bit before it wore out its welcome. By the time John C. Reilly is getting buried in the front yard, you feel like you've seen it all before. "Step Brothers" is proof that Adam McKay still has some strong comedy left in his bones if he can just find the right project to make it more consistent, just like he did with "Anchorman". And, I repeat - the best reason to see this film is for two individual sequences involving the lumberjack and the menotaur. Sure, they could have been sketches on Saturday Night Live, but they are absolutely hysterical. It's that kind of random humor that has always made McKay such an original comedic voice. It's that kind of commitment to absurdity that has always made Ferrell such a comedic talent. If that was the kind of originality seen throughout "Step Brothers", it would get a much stronger recommendation.

Tristan #1: Tristan - added 08/19/2008, 01:04 AM
This is the first movie I've ever walked out of. I gave it an hour, and I didn't laugh once. It was just fucking awful. It wasn't funny, it wasn't "quirky" and John C Reilly is so unfunny it hurts. How this man weasled his way into these movies is beyond me. Taladega Nights sucked, almost all Will Ferrell movies suck, and now Step Brothers sucks. 0/10
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 08/19/2008, 01:10 AM
Pfft, you just walked out to prove a point. Everyone else has said they enjoyed it. Lick my shit.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 08/19/2008, 01:12 AM
There was no point to prove. I paid $10 to spend an hour in a terrible movie. I felt that was enough. I sat through The Messengers, The Ruins and the Halloween remake. And those were horrendous movies. This was just unbearable.
Nirrad #4: Nirrad - added 08/19/2008, 01:13 AM
Halloween rocked them shits!
Ginose #5: Ginose - added 08/19/2008, 02:26 AM
Eh, I agree with Billy Ray. Wouldn't see it again, but it was definately a good quick laugh... Really disappointed with the pacing, but, really, where else could you go with a plot like that, they needed to drag some shit out. All-in-all, I thought Reily and Ferrell played off each other well, and I really think that type of juvenille humor suits their style best.

Edd #6: Edd - added 08/19/2008, 11:40 AM
I fucking LOVED this movie. Fuck everyone else. "Your voice was like a mixture between Fergie and Jesus".

Everyone feels that because Will Ferrell is in a movie, then it's automatically bad. Like they've gotten hip to what he does. Most of the verbal interaction wasn't even scripted. I laughed plenty of times during this film. 10/10
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added 08/19/2008, 01:45 PM
"I've come 5,000 miles to give you my seed!"
"Oh, Lumberjack!"
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 08/19/2008, 01:46 PM
I do have to comment on this from below --
JOHN C. REILLY IS UNFUNNY? You obviously haven't seen "Walk Hard", where he delivers one of the funniest performances I have seen in a long, long time. Reilly is hysterical if you like that type of humor. I loves it.
Ginose #9: Ginose - added 08/19/2008, 01:57 PM
Seconded. Reilly may have been the funniest actor in "Talledega Nights" and truly sealed my opinion of his comedic talent with "Walk Hard". He's damned funny.
Luminaire #10: Luminaire - added 08/19/2008, 11:57 PM
Mary Steenburgen is like a fine wine, she gets more beautiful with age. Ted Danson is a lucky undeserving fuck in my opinion. Anywayyyy i loved this movie and it was hilarious. Def. right about it about the movie getting dull toward the end but it kept me laughing up til then and kicked it up a notch with the lumberjack. 8/10
Optimus Prime #11: Optimus Prime - added 01/01/2010, 05:52 PM
Yeah... I don't think this was bad at all. I loved it. I laughed pretty much through the whole thing. 8/10.
Lucid Dreams #12: Lucid Dreams - added 09/06/2010, 09:28 PM
I pretty much agree with the whole review. 6/10
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