Step Brothers Movie Review
Whereas 2008 has lacked strength in dramas, there have been a slew of hilarious comedies this year, including In Bruges, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Role Models. Amidst all of these films, I completely forgot about Step Brothers... though after watching it, I now know why.
Step Brothers, which stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as two 40-year olds who still live with their newly married parents, isn't not funny - it just isn't that good. The very premise of having Ferrell and Reilly playing grownup children who cry, fight and suddenly become best friends is a great one; it just isn't executed particularly well. There are a lot of funny moments in the picture, but few are hilarious, and one wonders what might have been had the formula been tweaked just a little bit.
I'm not sure what the right solution would have been and, frankly, it doesn't matter now. Regardless, Step Brothers never kicks into full gear, and when its characters finally have to grow up in the final act, it comes crashing down with a loud thud. Part of the problem is that beyond a few humorous situations, there really isn't much of a screenplay, and I have to think there is a fair amount of on-screen material that was improvised. Writer/director Adam McKay (who co-wrote with Ferrell) got trapped in a situation he couldn't easily get out of, and that was that the two main characters are obnoxiously immature. Set in a world that is otherwise normal, this leads to a divorce between their parents and the realization that they have to move out on their own and get real jobs. Divorce and reality aren't nearly as funny, yet this is the route the movie takes - and it is the wrong one.
Again, Step Brothers has enough laughs to satisfy Ferrell fans, but a different story might have been able to carry the concept a lot further. Recommended only to those who have seen everything else; otherwise, there are much funnier movies out there.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.