‘Step Brothers’: Funny, but not a classic

Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:20pm
By: Michael Boylan

I am someone who believes that “Anchorman” is one of the funniest movies in recent history, if not my entire life. I also thought “Talladega Nights” was particularly inspired. “Step Brothers” is not of that ilk. It’s funny and it has many good to great moments, but it’s not a great movie and, with both Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly teaming up on another Adam McKay production, it really should have been.

The paper thin plot revolves around two lazy lay-abouts pushing 40 who are forced to live together when their parents get married. Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly) are both unemployed and immature and they hate each other, until they realize that they both like “Shark Week,” martial arts and velociraptors. Soon, the two are best friends and this means all sorts of hi-jinks that drive Dad crazy enough to put the house up for sale. Brennan and Dale go back and forth between being friends and enemies, concocting all sorts of crazy ideas to try to keep their sweet lifestyle going.

Ferrell and Reilly are both funny, but their characters aren’t as developed as other films. They yell and swear a lot, which gets some laughs, but there is no Ron Burgundy or Ricky Bobby here. There were a few holes in their characters and also in the story itself. For instance, it is never clear whether they are trying to sabotage their job interviews or not. It looks as if they are and the sequence is very funny, but there was no explanation between the two step-siblings on why they would act that way.

It’s a minor quibble. “Step Brothers” isn’t trying to be fine cinema, but it misses the “Dumb and Dumber” mark by a bit too, possibly because neither Brennan nor Dale is anywhere near as likable as Harry or Lloyd.

There are some great supporting performances in the film, especially Adam Scott’s turn as Brennan’s brother Derek, an annoying yuppie with a penchant for a capella singing with his family. Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen are also solid as the parents of the two idiots.

If you’re a fan of Ferrell and/or Reilly, you should check out “Step Brothers,” but you aren’t missing the comedy event of the summer if you wait for DVD.


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