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Movie Review: Step Brothers

By Brandon Scott

July 26, 2008

We have no idea what's going on under the water.

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Sophomoric. Juvenile. Ridiculous. Preposterous. All these things can be used to describe Step Brothers. But it's still pretty funny. Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) lives comfortably at home with his Dad. Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) is in the same situation with his Mom. When Dale's father and Brennan's mother meet at a seminar, they engage in a sordid, animalistic love affair. The result is a marriage and subsequent move-in situation that brings 39-year-old Brennan and his Mom into the home of 40-year-old Dale and his Dad. A power struggle ensues and a period of adjustment is necessary. Ferrell's Brennan and Reilly's Dale begin to engage in a game of one-upsmanship and are pitch perfect to play these types of lowest common denominator characters.

As usual the biggest problem with these types of movies is the need to have a plot and Step Brothers' plot is about as unrealistic as they come. In one early scene, Brennan and Dale, who are supposed to hate each other vehemently, come to serious blows using bats, bikes and golf clubs and their Dad has to be called in to break it up. In the very next scene they are almost like best friends. This is the sort of thing that ruins any sort of believability in these types of movies. The main consequence of their fight (not the "No TV for a week!") is that they must prepare to grow up. They are getting kicked out of the house in a month and both must find jobs in order to make it on their own.




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There is no sense in delving too much into the plot, since things like storytelling and realism have no place in a movie like this. Needless to say, it's the tag-team duo that keep the laughs coming at a reasonably moving rate. They look at smut rags in their tree house, create bunk beds, and they both sleepwalk recklessly. There are plenty of bodily function jokes as well. It's all so asinine that it's often very funny. The first half of the film is funnier than the second half, which is quite typical, when the plot actually must surface for the story to come to a resolution.

Ultimately Step Brothers feels like it's more of an ad-libbing improvisational opportunity for these talents to show off more than anything else. The movie promises laughs and it delivers on that promise. Unfortunately, several things that you see in the trailers are not in the film itself and that is a bit of a letdown. This is not an uncommon occurrence with movies by any means, but I felt that the trailer here really generated the excitement for me and I was a little bummed when some of the lines were cut or changed. The extras on the DVD should likely be ample to fill that void. If you are in the mood for mindless, reckless, completely absurd gags, check it out. There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes of your time. 2.5 out of 4 stars.


     


 
 

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