Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Will Ferrell
John C Reilly
Richard Jenkins
Mary Steenburgen.
Directors
Adam McKay.
Screenwriters
Will Ferrell
Adam McKay.
Running Time
TBC minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Keeper Of Lost Causes, The
3 Star Empire Rating
If I Stay
2 Star Empire Rating
Let's Be Cops
3 Star Empire Rating
Obvious Child
4 Star Empire Rating
Million Dollar Arm
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Step Brothers
Ferrell and Reilly in a case of seriously arrested development


submit to reddit


Plot
Brennan (Ferrell) is a 39 year-old stay-at-home layabout. So is Dale (Reilly), except he’s 40. When Brennan’s mum (Steenburgen) marries Dale’s dad (Jenkins), the two are forced to live together. Can they put their differences aside and finally get off their asses?


Review
Step Brothers
Talladega Nights, the second movie from the SNL-spawned creative team of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, may have made big bucks but it was pretty disappointing, failing to capture the magic of Anchorman, their free-wheeling debut. But in introducing John C. Reilly as an unexpected comedic foil for Ferrell’s blustering idiocy, McKay and his writing partner laid the foundations for their third movie. And if it’s still a few notches beneath the inspired lunacy of Ron Burgundy and chums, it’s a definite return to form.

 

Although the problem of grown men refusing to leave the parental home is very real, McKay and Ferrell aren’t interested in social comment. Instead, they’re focused on making us laugh, a policy that hinges on the chemistry generated by Ferrell and Reilly.

Though the line blurs between Brennan and Dale (both are idiotic curly-haired man-children, engines of id, impulse, immature posturing and, Ferrell fans will be pleased to hear, primal screaming), Ferrell and Reilly are a superb double-act, Reilly’s cockiness meshing well with Ferrell’s puppy dog innocence. They’re fine separately, but when the two are together, be it during an extended fight scene with a bunch of kids, or a demented sleepwalking sequence, the movie is a blast. Crucially, they also make Dale and Brennan - who could very easily be obnoxious and unpleasant - likable.

However, there are missteps, such as the decision to root the action in a mundane world, which works against the outlandish humour (even Jenkins and Steenburgen, both fine actors, can’t sell the concept that anyone would put up with the crap Dale and Brennan pull). More damaging is McKay’s pursuit of an R rating (most likely a 15 over here), which doesn’t sit well with the tone of the movie or their established universe, which previously - erection gags and all - felt innocent and joyous. Gags about exposed balls or licking dog shit do not.

But when McKay focuses on the pure simplicity of the pair getting stupidly excited over tree houses, Chewbacca masks and samurai swords, Step Brothers is a hugely entertaining exercise in the comedy of the random, complete with improvised non-sequiturs, bonkers one-liners (“Your voice is a combination of Fergie and Jesus”), and a triumphant climactic sequence featuring a montage that’s actually funny.


Verdict
It’s no Anchorman, but it’s several steps in the right direction.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Step Brothers
Empire Star Rating

RE: Step Bros

L: blackduck Solid three star film plenty of big laughs. But like all Farrell films too many moments that are more random than funny and the ending is a bit of a mess. Not a classic, but  a good way to spend a Friday night. greed. Judging by the TV spots and trailers I thought it could have been a cult comedy classic, but there's a few too many misses between the big laughs. ... More

Posted by Izzet at 15:17, 10 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Step Bros

Absolute Shocker   Ferrels losing it slowly, needs Anchorman 2 to refresh his comedy Ron Burgundy will never grow old   ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by samkyle at 15:51, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Step Bros

Solid three star film plenty of big laughs. But like all Farrell films too many moments that are more random than funny and the ending is a bit of a mess. Not a classic, but  a good way to spend a Friday night. ... More

Posted by blackduck at 13:48, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


Step Bros

If anyone goes into this thinking this is a clever comedy dont go. Its purile fun at its best. the film had me in stiches from the get go. Great chemisty from Ferrell and Reilly. and a great support cast to boot. The bunk bed scene in the trailer is even funnier in the film. Maybe not as good as Anchorman but for me Ferrells 2nd best film. The end credits scene funnier than anything Adam Sandler has ever released... EVER! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by haygaz at 22:32, 05 September 2008 | Report This Post


Step Bros

If anyone goes into this thinking this is a clever comedy dont go. Its purile fun at its best. the film had me in stiches from the get go. Great chemisty from Ferrell and Reilly. and a great support cast to boot. The bunk bed scene in the trailer is even funnier in the film. Maybe not as good as Anchorman but for me Ferrells 2nd best film. The end credits scene funnier than anything Adam Sandler has ever released... EVER! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by haygaz at 22:32, 05 September 2008 | Report This Post


Step Bros

If anyone goes into this thinking this is a clever comedy dont go. Its purile fun at its best. the film had me in stiches from the get go. Great chemisty from Ferrell and Reilly. and a great support cast to boot. The bunk bed scene in the trailer is even funnier in the film. Maybe not as good as Anchorman but for me Ferrells 2nd best film. The end credits scene funnier than anything Adam Sandler has ever released... EVER! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by haygaz at 22:31, 05 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Step Brothers

I'm personally thinking this is Ferrell's third best film, after Anchorman and Old School.  It certainly seemed to hit with the audience last night too, a pretty packed screening laughing pretty much all the way through.  I agree that there were a couple of flat scenes (sleepwalking!) but on the whole it succeeds.  The musical finale was great (Lumberjack!) and the final scene of bully payback was funnier than most whole comedies I've seen this year!    By the way,... More

Posted by porntrooper at 10:20, 03 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Step Brothers

I liked it, its certainly not Ferrell at his best but its a lot better than Semi-Pro and Blades Of Glory, I know its Ferrell and Adam McKay together again but its a lot closer in tone to Anchorman and Talladega Nights than those two (some of the one liners are extremely Ron Burgundy, particularly towards the end). The main problem with it I thought was the pacing, it seems to take an awfully long time to get going, and in the first few scenes even Ferrell and Reilly didn't ... More

Posted by Indio at 23:23, 02 September 2008 | Report This Post


Step Brothers

Highly recommended-puerile, adult daft humour and hits the chord. Holds your attention throughout...these two guys are a comic art alone-yes funnier scripts out there but..sit back, release your tensions and enjoy. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 20:52, 01 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: badassmofo You know its OK but I think my problem with the film is just the fact that it never really develops its central idea. I like Will Ferrell and John C Reily acting like kids as much as the next person but 90 minutes of "Fuck...." "Shit...." "Fuck..." gets old rather quickly and much of it feels a bit indulgent, though saying that the climax had me in stiches. The surprise package really is Richard Jenkins whose rage and eventual rather surreal sense of comedy shines rather bri... More

Posted by Clarence Worley at 18:50, 01 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

You know its OK but I think my problem with the film is just the fact that it never really develops its central idea. I like Will Ferrell and John C Reily acting like kids as much as the next person but 90 minutes of "Fuck...." "Shit...." "Fuck..." gets old rather quickly and much of it feels a bit indulgent, though saying that the climax had me in stiches. The surprise package really is Richard Jenkins whose rage and eventual rather surreal sense of comedy shines rather brightly. Better t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by badassmofo at 11:38, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE:

Another great from Ferrell and Reilly that is silly fun and chocked full of memorable lines. Great support as well from Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins as the Parents. But special praise must go to Ferrell's real brother in the film in the shape of Jason Davies who almost steals the film . ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Starscream at 18:49, 30 August 2008 | Report This Post


its definatly not as good as anchorman but there is one scene i love the bunch bed scene i dont know whether its just me but that s hilarious. but i think it will have a few good moments but its probabaly not farrells worst film. stranger than fiction iss definatly the worst it was crap . ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coolkirstie at 17:32, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


its definatly not as good as anchorman but there is one scene i love the bunch bed scene i dont know whether its just me but that s hilarious. but i think it will have a few good moments but its probabaly not farrells worst film. stranger than fiction iss definatly the worst it was crap . ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coolkirstie at 17:31, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


Anchorman... 3 stars

Ok, I haven't seen Step Brothers yet... so I won't comment on the review. Here's what bugs me. Semi-Pro was rubbish. Blades of Glory had some laugh out loud moments, as did Talledega Nights. ANCHORMAN is universally agreed to be the highlight of Ferrell's and the frat packs' comedies. If you don't agree - you're obviously an idiot (joke). Hewitt says as much in his review. Of the other films he says that they are "failing to capture the magic of Anchorman". He says that Step Brot... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jmebaby25 at 13:27, 28 August 2008 | Report This Post


step too far

this film looks absolutely rubbish to be honest and the trailer looks awful and utterly pointless . ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IRON MAN at 16:28, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Bloody bloody funny!

I was going to see this but the trailer has put me off TBH, Will Ferrell is really starting to grate, ELF, Old Skool and Anchorman were genius. Tall... Nights was OK, didnt see semi pro as it just looked like a dodgeball/ tall... rehash.   Was tempted by this but the sound of WF doing his REALLY SHOUTY LISTEN TO ME I'M FUNNY bit put me off.   He was so understated in his Melinda and Melinda and Stranger than fiction I would love to see him in more roles like that rather than ... More

Posted by Manny at 12:28, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post


Bloody bloody funny!

I don't understand the hate of Taladega Nights, it was no Anchorman admittedly but still alot of fun, which is exactly what this is - Ferrell and Reily light up the screen and everyone at the screening I attended was absolutely p**sing themselves! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sammo2 at 11:04, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Farrell's worst

Ok, so you know what you're gonna get when it comes to Will Ferrell and comedies: a big, curly haired doofus with a redicoulous name clowning around and mugging to the camera. Most people will have already made up their mind on this very Marmite brand of humour - and Step Brothers is unlikely to win over any previous doubters. Personally, I've always had a soft spot for the Ferrell, so was happy to chuckle along (with a few belly laughs) at his perticular brand of sligh... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rupert303 at 08:23, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post


Farrell's worst

I saw this in the states a few weeks back and i didn't really like, they're are a few funny bits of banter occasionally, but the acting from everyone else in the movie, and the 'plot' is painful to watch. This is no where near as good as anchorman, old school, talladega nights or even semi-pro. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse2 at 18:30, 25 August 2008 | Report This Post


You always rag on Talladega Nights

You guys always have a go at Talladega Nights, yet every single person i know that likes Ferrels style of comedy thinks its up there with his best. Ok so it doesnt have the offthewall moments that Anchorman has but it replaces that with some of the best one liners he has come out with. #003399]Sacha Baron Cohen is hilarious as always. And you just have to love the foul mouthed kids. So i think you should repent and pray to dear baby 8 pound 6oz jesus and ask for forgiveness. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by discostewart at 11:26, 25 August 2008 | Report This Post


Previous page

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)