Directed by: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins
Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Plot: Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly) are two spoiled men who become stepbrothers when their single parents get married. Under one roof, their parents’ sanity gets tested as the two try to get along.
Who’s It For? If any comedy will do, then get in line, especially if you think Ferrell has made no mistakes. If you thought Semi-Pro was a mistake, then you can wait for DVD. Also, the F-bomb is constantly used as a punchline and there are tons of inappropriate adult jokes.
Expectations: I had hope. Actually, I have more faith in Reilly, with Walk Hard being funnier than Semi-Pro, Blades of Glory or their combined work in Talladega Nights .
Will Ferrell as Brennan: Is he naive? An idiot? Simply spoiled? Mentally slow? Maybe all of the above, but the main problem is Brennan goes from being a nervous little kid to a insanely angry adult in a matter of seconds. You can never get a handle on him and it comes across like Ferrell is confused as opposed to this being a defined character. In the good moments (there are a handful) he’s an older Napoleon Dynamite. This is two films in a row where Ferrell decides saying F**k is the funniest thing he can do. It’s not.
John C. Reilly as Dale: Dale is brash, spoiled and ready to fight. Reilly plays him perfectly as the “older brother” trying to run the house. Dale simply standing in green underwear equals funny.
Rest of Cast: Mary Steenburgen looks like she could have played Ferrell’s girlfriend or mom. It’s a toss up. Richard Jenkins had some moments playing the gruff father to Reilly, who eventually blows his top, but the eventual separation between the parents brings the film down when it should just be concentrating on the funny. And Adam Scott as the successful brother was nice but I thought that role was ripe for a cameo, which we didn’t get unless you count Horatio Sanz and a very flat, quick performance by Seth Rogen.
Talking: “I’m not the one staring at me.” Lines like that work, there just aren’t enough of them. You can tell there are tons of takes with every scene and I kept thinking to myself, “Really that’s the best line out of the group?” McKay and Ferrell wrote the screenplay together and I expected more from the creative duo of The Landlord.
Sights & Sounds: Vampire Weekend has a song in the beginning, which is nice, but otherwise it’s Ferrell’s voice on display. He’s got a good one, but it’s hard to tell at first if the film is doing it as a joke or if in fact they are impressed with his talent. The end of the film cinches it and is one of the better moments Step Brothers offers.
You do get to see Ferrell’s ball sack, which might be a draw for some, but otherwise it’s a mess. Ferrell and Reilly bicker and it should be better. First they are foes, then the two thrown together siblings become friends. Unfortunately that only takes up the first half of the film. Then there are just sketches pushed together out of place. And since there is nothing else to do, the two step brothers go back to being enemies. There are scenes such as the job interview montage that just make no sense and are only played for laughs, but it fails to even get a snicker out of me. Just like Ferrell’s balls, Step Brothers falls flat.
Score: 5 out of 10