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?
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.
Empire is spot on, except for the redeeming features
Yeah, the outlandish comedy jars in the mundane setting and the gross-out gags don't sit well with the premise - but I disagree that the characters are likeable and only a few of the jokes 'land' making it, for me, a rather dull, frustrating movie given the talent involved. ... More
Hilarious. Outrageous. Heart touching. Step Brothers is one of the best comedy's of all time, and to be honest its one of my top five. Overall a must see for anyone who's humor is beyond the realms of crude ...aka that means hyper crude. ... More
I have watched countless movies since I have been alive. And personally I'm more of a horror fan than anything else but this, this is so so so great. I couldn't belive my eyes when they rated this 3 STARS! In my book this will be the movie of will ferrals career. ... More
puts a dampner on the film if you ask me. poor typecastin from before the film gets aired. riley doesnt exactly act too dumb to find pullin a bird either makin his character also unrealistic. got boring mid way thru and stayed that way to the end. grimaced more then laughed. wil fans will love it. if Uv got any monty python in ur collection id give it a miss ... More
The unlikely pairing of Reilly and Ferrell seems to pay off better than expected, and some amusing lines aside, Step Brothers is little more than a solid comedy with a rather ridiculous storyline. I have no doubt that it'll delight the masses from the 'Ferrell' school of thought, but, in all honesty, this should've been much better. Take it or leave it. ... More
I watched this movie and then five minutes of Anchorman for the first time and thought this was better. Definitely very funny x
Also, have you heard the prosthetic ball song on the commentray? ... More
I've only seen bits of Talladega Nights, but what little I saw made me laugh more than this latest offering. Aside from the bunk bed gag there wasn't a whole lot of truly laugh out loud moments in Step Brothers. Empire has hit the nail on the head in pointing out the unnecessary pursuit of an R rating. A lot of the coarse swearing was out of place and some of the jokes would have been funnier without it. I wouldn't call it a Marmite film, I just feel too many Will Ferrell comedies are mediocre f... More
Absolute crap. Will Ferrell takes advantage of his cult following by throwing together a 2-bit reel in the hope of raising a couple extra million.
Did anyone else think half way through that the Ferrells and Reillys characters were made out to be special needs? ... More
i have not seen any other ferrell movie apart from bewitched fancied a comedy an looking at trailers for this and tropic and pineapple this seemed the funniest. being in the situation of still living with my parents v in my forties i could see the comic potential in the situation this requires ferrel an reilly to act like 10 years old and it is stupid vulgar crass but also very funny in parts it fizzles out at the end at the... More
I have to agree with most of other posters here. There are funny moments but too much of this film either covers ground that we have been over before or simply isn't funny enough. It is the nature of Ferrell and McKay's highly improvisational technique that there will be many misses before a hit happens and this is one of those times when more of the misses have made it into the film.
As much as I like Ferrell, I can't help but feel that he is better employed as a support... More