Step Brothers Review
There is no ambivalence in the fact that when you see both Will Ferrell and John C Reilly headlining a film that it's going to be a spoof or a goof of a movie. The unlikely pair hook up once again since Talladega Nights to deliver more of the same humour.
Adam McKay directs the movie and Judd Apatow produces it, but the two funny men were also pretty involved in helping pull the story together.....and it sure shows.
As I infer, you've seen it all before, get these two guys together and it's simply going to be an idiotic affair. Step Brothers is exactly that. The jokes come thick and fast or shall I say it's all very fast and thick? The moronic levels know no bound and the incessant onslaught of immature behaviour will have you giggling and laughing in no time.
What you have here is Ferrell and Reilly letting rip at a level they love to operate at and to be fair, one that they're very good at. This one is home turf all the way for these two.
The story is simple Brennan Huff (Ferrell) is a 39 year old single guy who still lives at home with his mum Nancy Huff played by the ageing but quite beautiful Mary Steenburgen. He's a retard pure and plain (without meaning to sound offensive to anyone) who's long been left behind by his highly successful younger brother. Whilst his sibling Derek had moved upwardly onward, Brennan's maturity was stunted by a number of incidents during his adolescence. None more so than being shown up at a talent show that left him with a serious inferiority complex about his singing abilities. When his mother split with his father that was the end of it for Brennan, he was destined to be a mummy's boy for the rest of his life.
Dale Doback (John C Reilly) on the other hand is a 40 year old and although being a year older his predicament is more or less down to the fact that he's a spoilt sponger of sorts. Living at home with his father Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins) he lives off of the fact that his father is a fairly successful medical doctor. It's a very furnished life to live as a wannabe Peter Pan and an overgrown brat.
So you've got a pair of grown adults that live at home with their single parents. Life has passed them by and they're as spoilt as being spoilt can be along with a combined mental age barely reaching double digits. Yes it's that bad folks. What fate has in-store hits them both head on and they need to wake up to a serious reality check.
Robert and Nancy meet up by chance at a medical seminar and it's love at first sight for them, the compatibility is fantastic and their lives appear to be two pieces from the same jigsaw. However, although the future maybe looking great for them the two big kids under their belts, can't accept the fact that their personal space and attention levels are all but gone. Living under the same roof as one big happy family is a testing experience and one that's plainly headed for comic disaster.
So the story is pretty much based around these two morons who jostle to maintain their relationship with their parents that simply in a nutshell, no longer exists. Love to hate and hate to love is the motto of the story and it all leads to the goofs that both these actors can deliver in spades. Nothing is high brow, it's all a seriously low level banal sense of humour but no matter, you simply can't help but burst out laughing from scene to scene. Why so? Simple, it is so true of childish behaviour it just hits the spot with adults alike.
It also comes as no surprise that with the ever spiralling costs of living and current state of economic circumstances that many families increasingly have children live on longer at home, some well into their adulthoods. I would guess any of those households could easily relate to the friction on offer here between the two step-siblings.
There are so many funny moments in this movie it's pointless to list them all. Not all will stand the test of longevity. There are plenty of rehashed gags but there are also some truly genuine moments that will live on long in the memory. Dales drum kit for example gets blessed by Brennan in the most unusual eye opening fashion, there's a lesson to be learnt about why you should never wake a sleep walker and if you ever want to make a home made rap video then Boats 'n' Hoes is a pretty good start. Oh and if you're ever at an interview and you feel a bout of flatulence coming along it is always wise to try and hold it in if you want the job. You get the drift?
So if this movie is in the general vain of what Ferrell and Reilly do what makes it stand out if at all? Well, for a start there is no let up in the delivery of the jokes and they hit you from all angles. The movie is very cohesive, moves swiftly along at all times and it never lags behind. The theatrical cut is a 98 minute affair and the extended version adds another 8 minutes of serious stupidity and foul language for you to savour at your leisure. In all you could watch this movie a few times and laugh at all the shenanigans that you may have missed the first or second time around. If I had one observation to make though it's that there is an overly and unnecessary use of foul language at times but it's no biggie.
Adam McKay does well to add another dimension to the movie which brings the story about full circle. Whilst the two step brothers loathe each other with a passion, they soon learn that they have to live and let live. A lot of that comes from the fact that they share a common hatred. Derek Huff (Adam Scott) is such a sickly 'love to hate' character and they both despise him with equal regard. Ultimately it's that common hatred that turns everything around for them to recognise what true brotherly love actually is. It's also no small matter that it dawns on them that they are not so different from each other either.
I also felt a bit of sympathy for the two guys as whilst they were mostly to blame their parents were also guilty of their part in each upbringing. After all, hitting the age of such maturity and still living at home is also down to the parents themselves. Mary Steenburgen plays the softly, softly understanding mother whereas Richard Jenkins tries to take on the role of a hardening father. Neither parent succeeds and it's a hilariously deteriorating situation. There's a scene for example when they are all having dinner at home playing happy families that will have you chuckling away to yourself. There's another when they hurl Richard Jenkins down the stairs which almost gave me stomach cramp from laughter.
In all I was quite surprisingly entertained by this movie. Yes, sure I knew what was in store right from the start as I'm sure you will be. After all it's about a pair of overgrown kids going at each other hell for leather like a pair of idiots. There's absolutely no surprise there. The real surprise though is that this one ends up as being probably one of the better movies that these guys have done together. Ferrell and Reilly are working in such a comfort zone at all times that you just can't help but laugh at their antics. It's worth a watch if you want a laugh.