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I watched step brothers yesterday for the second time after purchasing
it on DVD. For me this is always the tough test when it comes to
comedy. I watched it at a packed cinema which as you know in itself can
make a film ultimately funny without being so. But i have to say this
film still delivered the goods so well.
First up this film is STUPID it is ridiculous but it's a comedy with Will Ferrell in it what did you honestly expect?! But my god it's funny it really is hilarious Ferrell and Reilly make an awesome on screen team and the comedy moments just bounce off one an other , each man just helps make the others role as funny as it could have been.
It gives you hilarious jokes , stupidly funny scenes , it's one of those comedy's that so so often tries to catch you off guard and every time it absolutely nails it!
And underneath all the stupidity bonds are formed , compassion is found and what really matters in life is discovered. You almost feel as if you've learnt a little something
It's one of my personal favourite comedy movies and goes up there with some of the greats (Blazing Saddles , Burn After Reading , Superbad , Knocked Up , Anchorman etc.)
I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd ever utter these words about a
Will Ferrell vehicle, especially one with Adam McKay as
collaboratorbesides that Pearl video The Landlord on the internet last
yearbut here it is. Step Brothers is an absolutely hilarious film.
From end to end, I don't remember the last time I've laughed this hard,
without stop. This is what Ferrell needs to do, no more of those
bio-spoofs of idiots that fall flat due to their tired joke. He is
unstoppable as a part of an ensemble when he doesn't have to be the
center of attention for an hour and half. The guy is obnoxious, and
while funny, the more freedom he gets, the more annoying he is. Having
a guy like John C. Reilly to play off of helps rein him in and give the
audience a break, allowing the jokes to breath and not become stifled
by the monotony of his schtick. Like Old School before it, Ferrell
kills in smaller doses. He has shown me that ability again here and
whereas I won't even keep Anchorman or Talladega Nights on screen when
flipping through the television, I seriously can't wait to revisit this
There is no bloated plot involved or even a love interest to distract from the comedy like the previous two "Everyman" entries in the Ferrell/McKay tag team's canon. I do believe that is the most refreshing aspect here; they finally see that you don't need a contrived romantic bent to be successful, we as an audience don't need to see the schlubby guy get the attractive girl, that is a cliché used way too often. We go to see a film like this to be entertained and to cause us to wet our pants with unstoppable laughter. As a result there are no lulls as even when the two stars begin to see how they must shape up and become adults for once, the awkwardness brings the laughs as well.
Step Brothers isn't winning any Oscars any time soon. With a premise involving the union of two older professionals, both of whom have 40-year old sons still living at home, devoid of responsibility, and lacking serious occupations, what do you really expect? Nancy Huff, (Mary Steenburgen showing that she is still around Hollywood), and Robert Doback, (Richard Jenkins letting his funny side out to complement the wonderful dramatic turn he gave in this year's The Visitor), are in love and perfect for one another. Their sons, unbeknownst to them at first, are also soulmates in the best friend platonic way. Completely the same person, right down to the hiding things in the kitchen while sleepwalking at night, Brennan and Dale are children trapped in adult bodies who waited forty years to be brought together. The chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly is unstoppable on screen, they are having fun, they must be improvising, and truthfully not a second falls flat.
With so many gags, one would think it'd all seem a bit disparate and thrown together, but the filmmakers and stars have sewn everything up nicely. You want a rap video that is the most offensive thing you'll hear all year? Get Brennan and Dale to create a music talent agency. You want an a cappella rendition of Guns N' Roses? Give Brennan a cocky, pompous brother who can afford singing/voice listens for his entire familyabsolutely priceless, and Adam Scott kills in this role, "Pow!". You need some gratuitous fake nudity? Give Ferrell a chance to rub his genitalia on Reilly's drumset. Check, check, and check. These guys cover all their bases, not to mention the swearing quota. I am surprised that they approved an R-rating here because it is so vulgar. The fact that a couple lines from the trailer didn't make the final cut shows that the actors must have improvised and done multiple takes of each scene. As a result, I'm sure they all tried to be as creatively crass as they could and to fantastic result. Some of the gems that spew forth ever so naturally are one-liners that will be repeated over and over again.
Really, it is these vulgarities that make the film that much more enjoyable to me. I think that McKay and Ferrell took a page out of the Apatow machine's book realizing a hard-R can and will sell. No one holds back at all, some of the sarcasm even makes the characters cry because it is so harsh. I love this aspect as it plays into the fact that these are 8-year old adults. Their excess of childlike exuberance and simplicity of mind and lifeand let's not forget the way their parents react by either screaming and going to the Cheesecake Factory bar or coddling them as only a mother can doadds to the absurdity of the situation and the laughs. Dale and Brennan fight, bicker, and eventually do everything together because they aren't just stepbrothers, no they are brothers for life in terms of their internal makeup. Think you and your sibling growing up in grade school, multiply that to the nth degree in terms of sex, violence, and language, and maybe you will be able to imagine what's in store for you once you sit down at the theatre. Just don't forget to stay after the first short run of end credits as the best jungle gym park brawl ever is awaiting you. Those kids didn't even have a chance.
I have been getting a lot of mixed reviews about this movie. Some
people love it, some people hate it, some people are just plain grossed
out by it. I'm in the love it category. There were a few unnecessary
gross out scenes but the rest of it is just awesome straight forward
John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell are amazing. I also loved Talladega Nights so it was great too see them as co-actors again. The story is ridiculous, there's no doubt about that, but it's really fun and I felt it moved along very well. I was also laughing out loud at the humor in this movie. There are so many spot on jokes and so many quotable lines.
See this one if you're a fan of films like Talladega Nights, Superbad and Walk Hard. I think you'll find that is quite a bit to love about it.
I liked Ferrel & Reilly as the racing team in "Talladega Nights" but
this was even better. The physical comedy was outstanding and the
acting itself was pitch perfect. Many critics commented on how well
they did given what they had to work with, but I think the script was
excellent. Some of the lines were brilliant, but you really have to
give the actors credit for improvising. After Ferrell revealed his
singing talents when he sang "Let's Give 'Em Something to Talk About",
when Reilly gushed on and on about how great he was, and then said "I'm
not sure, but towards the end I think I saw you turn into a Unicorn", I
lost it. I really lost it when Ferrell's brother & his family were
singing in the car "Sweet Child of Mine". It was a real classic.
Hell, I think I'll buy this when it comes out on DVD. I can't say that for many comedies ("Anchor Man" is one).
Don't miss this one. It's a scream.
It's safe to say that the hilarity and stupidity of Ferrell and
Reilly's characters in this movie was pretty close to perfect. You
might think they're creepy and just too pathetic, but it's a given
that's what they were going for. You'll be close to crying when it's
all said and done feeling as though you laughed through the whole
thing. This movie was certainly a great way for Will Ferrell to step
back from his non-stop drunk and over the top characters, and to
finally play opposite someone as funny as he is. And in a Rated-R film,
Brennan Huff's (Ferrel) brother in the film played the successful and insulting jerk to Ferrel's and Reilly's character. His role could've been a little less obvious with his cruel characteristics and not so sudden and constant with his remarks. Other than that, however, there really wasn't any other flaws in the characters or story that would make anybody leave the theater or quick watching.
The outrageous dialog between the Step Brothers was comedy at its finest. If it wasn't a joke, but simple dialog, it would still get plenty of laughs, all because of the delivery. Director, Adam McKay couldn't have done better with this film. It is a must-see, no question.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Will Farrell tea bagging a drum set is not funny. John C. Reilly in
bicycle shorts or a Chewbacca mask is not funny. The two stars
pulverizing a playground full of eleven-year-olds is also, you guessed
it, not funny. In fact, it is desperate and pathetic.
It is small consolation that one of the egregious scenes in the movie takes place after the credits roll. Unfortunately though, the aisles and exits at the theatre I saw Step Brothers at were clogged with spectators who, beyond any intelligible reason as far as I can tell, were amused enough by the first 100 minutes to stick around for the encore, so I was stuck.
I find it necessary to qualify my above remarks, as well as those I have not yet written down, by saying I do not object to raunchy, low-brow humor. Any one of the images mentioned in the lead of this review could have been as funny as the pie scene in American Pie or the testicle/zipper shot in There's Something About Mary. But there needs to be some context and perhaps a little motivation as well. We need to know why something is funny, and understand how it fits in with the world its movie occupies. The images themselves do not suffice, no matter how shocking or disgusting.
If you are not yet familiar with the general set-up of Step Brothers through the movie's excessively aggressive and ubiquitous marketing campaign, it is rather simple. Will Farrell and John C. Reilly play two slacker children- one is forty years old and the other is pushing forty with a short stick- whose successful, motivated single parents get married, and therefore begin the weirdest Brady Bunch type family in movie history. Farrell and Reilly's characters hate each other upon sight and bicker insufferably until they realize they are cut from the same degenerate cloth and then become best pals.
Eventually, the father, a revered and important physician played by Richard Jenkins, becomes so enraged by the overgrown adolescents' antics, that he delivers an ultimatum to them. Get jobs and move out by the end of the month. I feel this is all the plot exposition this film deserves, because Step Brothers is more about a series of failed gags and profanity for profanity's sake.
I consider myself to have a very high tolerance for explicit, raunchy sexual behavior and an even higher tolerance for foul language, but even I found Step Brothers to be puke-inducing, more than a bit rough. Remember the tea bagging scene mentioned in the lead. We do get to see every hairy inch of Will Farrell's scrotum. It does not advance the plot. It is not the logical conclusion of a series of events. It is not executed with any sort of subtlety or surprise, it is telegraphed a week ahead of time. It serves no function whatsoever except to show Will Farrell's testicles because Farrell, who co-wrote the script with director Adam McKay, thinks it is funny. It is not, and neither are the endless gags which continually use sex, genitalia, cursing, etc. as bludgeons. It is not so much a movie as an exercise in arbitrary weirdness and manic perversion.
The clerk who sold me my ticket said that while most of the younger audiences seemed to love the film, many middle-aged moviegoers had left the film enraged, demanding to be refunded. To me, this does not demonstrate a schism in tolerance, but a schism in taste. Today's middle-aged moviegoer grew up with Animal House and Porky's, and was quick to embrace the aforementioned American Pie and There's Something About Mary. And anybody willing to put down ten bucks to see a movie starring the man behind Old School must have been prepared for some politically incorrect humor. However, in Step Brothers it is not funny, just depressing, mean-spirited and reprehensible.
Even more depressing, is the fact that there is a kernel of a good idea here. There is endless comedic possibility of two social misfits with Peter Pan complexes who are seemingly oblivious to all real world expectations. Unfortunately, this movie is completely unwilling to push the frontiers of any sort of substance whatsoever. It just falls back on the same safe, broad humor that so many of Farrell's previous efforts are marked by.
Worse yet, is that the two lead characters' quirks are made less interesting by the supporting characters in the movie. Everybody is pretty much the exact same. Even the supposed smart, successful people in Step Brothers behave like social deviants, giving Farrell and Reilly nothing to bounce their energy off of. They hardly even stand out as weirdos. Even the straight-laced father succumbs to visions of being a T-Rex. It is not a fantasy, but a goal.
There is something potentially fascinating about a successful doctor who aspires to be a member of a different species, one that is extinct to boot, but like so much of the rest of the movie, the joke is undercut by the tone of the rest of the film. The undeniable chemistry between Farrell and Reilly is the only thing that makes this film supportable. They really embody these characters and go all the way with them. Unfortunately, that is all the way to the toilet. The film displays many symptoms of Farrell's classic "Ain't I cute" syndrome.
This film makes the classic mistake of believing goofiness is an adequate substitute for wit. All comedy writers, directors, and actors would serve themselves well to observe a few basic lessons. Smart people are funnier than dumb people. Secure, well-adjusted people are funnier than zany outcasts. And most importantly, a bad gag done loudly is even more annoying than the same bad gag performed at a humble volume.
In a summer of surprisingly strong major studio releases, Step Brothers does what it can to taint the cinematic gene pool.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's taken four or five films, but it seems like Hollywood has run of
out occupations for Will Ferrell to have while he acts like a man
child. From anchorman to NASCAR driver and some other sports, the
apparent remedy of this problem comes in Step Brothers: make him a
jobless man child. Oh, and have two of him this time and get John C.
Reilly to play the other. That's the basic set up for this, Ferrell's
third collaboration with "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights" director
Adam McKay, a tired, annoying, and sometimes cringe inducing display of
the same shtick you've seen many times before.
The movie follows Dale (Reilly) and Brennan (Ferrell), two single, unemployable 40 year old losers who still live at home with their single parents (played by Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins, two very good actors that don't have much to work with). When said parents hook up and eventually marry, the two find themselves under the same roof and an hour and a half of them screaming and getting hurt ensue. The two despise each other at first, but eventually become friends, especially when their parents grow tired of their immaturity and force them to try and get jobs. This sets the stage for what essentially boils down to a series of sketches. One supposedly funny situation after the next that the boys find themselves in, barely connecting to form a plot at all, let alone something overly funny. Set pieces include Brennan's diabolically cruel younger brother, his crazy wife who finds herself infatuated with Dale, a street brawl with some grade school children, and a rap video (groan). Like previous McKay outings, this movie is a gag a minute, throwing out a lot of things, most of them missing the mark.
To deride the humor as stupid is incredibly pointless. That's what one is expecting with movies like these, and even people who loved this movie would freely admit that it's stupid. The "stupid" factor of the humor isn't even my major problem with it. I've enjoyed movies like Anchorman and the indefensible Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, but there has to be some kind of wacky and over the top charm to a film's stupidity in order for me to be on board. Not only are Dale and Brennan un-charming, they're barely even likable, and even a little creepy. Seeing these men scream obscenities, beat the crap out of each other, act like children and destroy the lives of those around them wears thin very quickly without any charm acting as support. The film also suffers from a degree of unoriginality, nothing is recycled directly from the previous McKay movies, but I couldn't shake off the feeling that I've seen this all before, or that McKay and Ferrell weren't even really trying anymore.
Ferrell and Reilly are gifted actors, and have proved in past films that they can be funny, but they have nothing to do here but repeat the same joke over and over again. Dale and Brennan are moronic man sized children, look at how stupid and childish they act, etc. etc. I'd be liar if I said the film was devoid of any laughs, because it does deliver some, but they just feel cheap, coming solely from Ferrell or Reilly's tone of voice or facial expressions, and not from good writing. You also get the feeling that, if nothing else, the actors are having a good time, which keeps the film from being something truly terrible. I'm also a sucker for randomness, and it succeeded at making me crack a smile a few times because of it. But the majority of the jokes just don't work; coming off as McKay trying to be as immature and senseless as possible (think Ferrell rubbing his balls on a drum kit is funny? Then you're in luck).
The supporting characters don't help much either, most acting as one note and unlikable as the step brothers themselves. Brennan's brother and his wife try to be so frantically funny you feel like patting them on the back and saying "You came on a little strong". Steenburgen and Jenkins try their best, but as mentioned, they simply have zero material to work with, forced to simply act as straight-men to Dale and Brennan's idiocy. Until, of course, the movie finally decides to have some sort of conflict and makes the parents fed up with them, eventually resolving in conclusion just as asinine as the rest of the film. By that point I couldn't have cared about the characters any less.
The film is bad, but not terrible. It's far too uninspired to get that strong of a reaction from me. It is simply McKay and Ferrell reusing their tried and tested formula once again, and failing completely in an attempt to capture any real sense of comedy or fun. If you loved the other movies made in this vein, then you'll surely like this too. If you find yourself tiring of Ferrell with each release, then save yourself some time and skip it, because "Step Brothers" will probably be the film that'll break the camel's back. Then fart on it or something.
There's a difference between Step Brothers and Baby Mama. Step Brothers is not up to par with the best work of the Will Ferrell-Adam McKay writing team, but it is not like Baby Mama in the sense that it has made me lost faith in the brand. Many critics seem to not know the difference. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby made 7 films together. Would critics have given this film a bigger pass if Will Ferrell and John C Reiley's film were called Talladega Nights II? What I'm getting it is I thought this film was plenty funny and certainly inventive enough. In fact, I stayed in the theater and watched it twice. The big stars of the film are not John C Reilly and Will Ferrell but Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins for holding down straight faces and being convincing as a loving dad and a loving mom of such silly characters. You could insert the characters played by Jenkins and Steenburgen into something like Cheaper by the Dozen or Gilmore Girls and it would still pretty much work.
This was quite a funny movie. Of course the entire premise is utterly
ridiculous, two "grown men" ages 39 and 40, still job-less, living with
their parents? It seemed to me that these two guys acted like 9
year-olds, but that is what makes it funny. I think this movie was even
funnier than Talladega Nights, Ferrell & Reilly's first collaboration.
There was a very thin and outrageous plot, but it lent itself to tons of improvisation, and in turn creating some of the ridiculous scenes, circumstances, and dialog. And seeing Mary Steenburgen curse like a sailor was hysterical. Ferrell and Reilly both play their characters to the hilt, as does Adam Scott, the evil younger brother, and his insane wife played by Kathryn Hahn. Overall there is an equal amount of slapstick, dialog, and potty humor (well okay, probably a bit heavier on the potty humor).
Though the movie itself is very hysterical, there are also some equally good bloopers, cut scenes, etc. on the DVD bonus materials. These are as hysterical as the movie was. I highly recommend renting the DVD and watching the extra features.
Personally, I think Talladega Nights is the funniest movie Will Ferrell
has ever done so pretty much everything since then has been a slight
disappointment (Blades Of Glory, Semi-Pro) and honestly, the first time
I watched Stepbrothers I was a little disappointed.
But a few months later I popped it in and watched it again and for some reason it was just really funny to me the second time around. It completely grew on me. I think the plot is hilarious, two guys in their 40's still never growing up and still living at home. And I can't think of any better comedy team than Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to play these parts.
I'm probably going to watch this again tonight. It just gets better every time.
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