Step Brothers: 2 Disc Unrated Edition Blu-ray Review
PictureStep Brothers is brought to us on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p image in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This is very much a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of the presentation of the film. For starters, there is no sign of DNR or EE which is an obvious plus point. The shadow detail is good, as is detail on the whole. Minor objects in the boys/men's bedroom are easily made out and remain pleasantly crisp and identifiable. The grain present is even throughout and merely adds to the filmic look of proceedings as I'm sure many would like. The image is clean and there are no apparent signs of compression noise.
That was the good side, which I'm sure you will have noted includes many pros. However the one major con, which to me is perhaps the most important factor, is that of skin tones. The palette on show is often fairly washed out and when colour is present, leans more toward the brown/sepia end of the spectrum. As such skin tones vary wildly, from pale and sickly looking, right the way through to David Dickinson deep mahogany. At times it almost appears as though scenes for individual actors were filmed either side of a Caribbean holiday. As such, I'm in two minds as to how to rate the picture. Perhaps I am overstating the colour discrepancies of flesh tones but when you take into account how much time a comedy of this kind focuses squarely on the central character's faces to pick out the minutiae of comedic acting, then this becomes all the more annoying. There are many good points to the image on show though and just one minus, but it is one of the more noticeable.
SoundBeing a comedy, one wouldn't readily expect too much from the audio side of things. However, we are presented with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless mix, which is also in French and Portuguese which is something not often seen, with such offerings usually receiving plain 5.1 tracks (which is true here for the Spanish and Thai language versions). There aren't any real minuses to be heard, as this does an incredibly able job of reproducing Jon Brion's superb score that retains its light whimsy whilst never intruding on the dialogue. Speaking of which (no pun intended), the centre channel is well prioritized and links up perfectly with what is a fairly front heavy soundstage.
The rears rarely come into genuine use but this is less a criticism of the mix than it is an observation on the lack of real need for them. The one disappointment for me was the muted LFE which could have been used to much greater effect, particularly for the sound of two men hitting each other with golf clubs, crashing into walls and a spade wrapped around Reilly's face. The positives far outweigh the negatives though, as the main concern of any such film should be how well integrated and crisp the dialogue is. Objectively it isn't a great mix when compared to the best out there but for slapstick fare with vulgar dialogue, a lossless mix is arguably more than was needed and thus this must be seen as a good thing.
ExtrasWhilst it isn't specifically listed under the extras tab on the disc, there is the choice of whether to watch the original theatrical cut (97 minutes) or the extended version (205 minutes) of the film, which surely has to feature as a bonus.
Commentary with Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Adam McKay, special guest Baron Davis and scored by Jon Brion
The two leads of the film, alongside the director McKay, sing the first fifteen minutes of this commentary in the style of a musical with Brion playing suitable music to accompany these shenanigans. I'm not sure if alcohol played any part but this was one of the oddest voiceovers I have ever heard as it tells us little about the films and more about the personalities of those involved and their willingness to indulge in tomfoolery. After a while though the men clearly can't keep up the madcap pace and revert to their normal personas, only sporadically breaking into song at occasional intervals further throughout the film. The only thing I can remember about the whole experience, other than a feeling of what it must be like to deal with the insane, is that Ferrell's prosthetic testicles cost twenty five thousand dollars to make. Things become all the more surreal when Baron Davis (all star point guard for NBA team the LA Clippers) enters the room. He actually asks some very sane questions and tries to glean genuine answers about filmmaking, for which he must be congratulated. He even, for me, stole the commentary with the remarkably astute observation that Reilly and Ferrell look like “two adult cabbage patch dolls”.
Boats 'N Hoes video editor
This gives those budding Spike Jonze's the chance to put together their own cut of the aforementioned rap video. You choose the order and length of clips from a palette of 9 separate cameras angles, all featuring different footage. It also includes the ability to save your finished effort and upload it via BDLive.
Deleted scenes - 1080p - 8:55 (combined total)
Half a dozen scenes that hit the cutting room floor for one reason or another. They don't really add anything to the film and thus one can only assume they were omitted due to time constraints and/or pacing concerns. Not the funniest of clips but there'll likely be one or two that amuse.
Extended and alternate scenes - 1080p - 36:17 (combined total)
A total of 14 scenes that are elongated here due in part to the wealth of improvisation that was encouraged on set. Here's a strangely touching conversation between the brothers whilst wearing their night vision goggles, a Chewbacca pez dispenser (that I want!) and the pleasant bonus of some great extra comedy from Rob Riggle (who I'm sure fans of The Daily Show will be glad gets more screen time, even if it is only in the extra) including him having a heart attack whilst describing the testicles needed to survive in the world of helicopter leasing.
Previews - all 1080p
Pretty self explanatory but I suppose if you've let some of these slip you by, a preview is a welcome addition.
Pineapple express - 2:31
Superbad - 1:12
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - 2:32
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - 2:26
Hancock - 2:36
Blu-ray disc is high definition - 2:37
The House Bunny - 2:32
Don't Mess With the Zohan - 2:10
Casino Royale - 1:34
88 Minutes - 2:32
Prom Night - 2:18
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder - 2:02
21 - 2:33
Vantage Point - 2:32
Resident Evil: Degeneration - 1:10
Line-o-rama - 1080p - 5:55
Numerous (I assume improvised) alternate lines to particular scenes.
Gag reel - 1080p - 4:15
The usual corpsing as the actors try desperately to keep straight faces. Surprisingly it's Ferrell who has a lot of the trouble.
Job interviews - 1080p - 28:59
Extensive footage of the interviews the two brothers are forced to go on during the movie.
Therapy sessions - 1080p - 13:30
As the above, but substituting the job sessions format for the enforced therapy sessions they have to take. It's particularly funny to see the myriad of imaginary patient histories Reilly's character tries to pass off on his psychiatrist, all being based on films and TV shows he's seen.
Prestige Worldwide full presentation - 1080p - 4:51
The complete presentation put on during Brennan's brother's birthday party to try to encourage investors for the hapless pair's ridiculous business venture.
Boats 'N Hoes music video - 480p - 1:52
Exactly the sort of footage that the extras category on home disc formats was designed for - completely pointless but utterly hilarious.
Dale vs. Brennan - 1080p - 6:52
Various scenarios, including cut lines, from when the step brothers first meet. They continually try to outdo one another with impressive boasts and the like but much of the footage is from the film itself rather unseen extra clips, thus it feels more like a promo than a feature.
The making of Step Brothers - 1080i - 22:03
This is pretty standard compared to some of the other extras as it simply goes into a little of the creative process and how the cast and crew came to join forces on this project.
The music of Step Brothers - 1080i - 18:16
A nice insight into the work of Jon Brion and what his inspirations were when devising the score. It explains the familiarity that some may feel with the music as he cites films such as “The Parent Trap” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” as sources which gave rise to his uniquely Disneyesque harmonies that accompany the on screen mayhem.
Charlyne moves in - 1080i - 7:19
A truly odd story about a girl (the titular Charlyne) who needs a place to stay, so is allowed to move into the film set and thus disrupts the shoot.
L'amour en caravane - 1080i - 12:02
Another mock fly on the wall piece that hypothesises what would happen if Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen (the parents) had an actual affair whilst filming.
Red band trailer - 1080p - 2:26
A trailer for the film.
VerdictTo sum up, I can only reiterate my original point; a comedy's worth must be based upon its ability to make you, the individual, laugh. As such I enjoyed my time watching this disc immensely. For those who are unsure of whether this may be to your tastes, ask yourself if you are easily offended as that will likely be many a person's main sticking point with this film. It's crass, vulgar, crude and simplistic, but for those willing to embrace these qualities, there's a comedy under there that can be very much appreciated. The disc itself has inconsistencies with its picture quality but remains free of the many myriad of processing techniques that could have adversely affected it for some. The sound is all it rightly should be in that it aids the comedy with the perfect weight it gives to the background score and keeps dialogue crisp and sharp. The extras though are what really raises this above other comedy discs, as the wealth of features on offer is quite remarkable. I can't imagine anyone could possibly want more when it comes to additional material. There are faults (flesh tones) but they are far outweighed by the majority of features that are well represented here.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.77
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