Lowdown: Two childish 40 year old step brothers doing stupid things.
With the recent success of Walk Hard and Semi Pro we felt like more of the same, so when Step Brothers came into our video store we couldn't resist the combination of Will Ferrell and John Reilly. The question was, what type of film are we going to watch? Would it be a hit that would make the most of its stars' comedy power or would it be a bit of a miss like Talladega Nights?
Well, let's start with what Step Brothers is all about. It tells the story of two older professionals who meet and get married at this late stage of their life, each bringing into the mix their forty year old son: Reilly on one hand and Ferrell on the other. Both sons are a major pain in the ass, behaving like five year olds, doing nothing to sustain themselves, and having no prospect of getting anywhere with their lives. Given logistical limitations the two end up sharing a room, which brings forth a world war between them. Quickly enough, though, the two become allies in the face of Ferrell's stupidly cocky brother.
The above account doesn't do justice to Step Brothers, because the plot is not its main event; the main story here is the platform given to the two stars to bring forth their type of crazy humor. It feels as if the two actors are in a competition to see who is crazier, so much so that Step Brothers feels like an exercise in self indulgence: the actors are doing stupid things to make themselves laugh and such, but it's just too crazy and too ridiculous to be really good laughing material and the genuine laughs are too far in between. Doing a comedy about forty year olds living with their parents is a good idea; I don't understand why the film had to take it to the extreme of making the forty year olds complete morons.
That said, the type of humor involved in Step Brothers is good in the sense that it doesn't give a fuck about any film conventions (note the word "fuck" was specifically used because I think it is the best word to convey the film's state of mind). Do not look for political correctness here; it's just a pity that Step Brothers strays too far on the wrong side of nonsense.
Representative scene #1: Reilly warns Ferrell not to touch his drum set, so in respite Ferrell rubs his balls on them. I suspect that the balls we actually see are props, but regardless we do see the explicit act.
Representative scene #2: Our heroes are made to lick dog shit. Ferrell's tongue fills the screen as he explicitly licks the shit.
Representative scene #3: Our heroes are also sleepwalkers, and in their sleep they wreck havoc on their parents' house.
Best scene: Our heroes join forces for some kung fu fighting and beat the crap out of a gang of little kids (as I said, screw political correctness). The scene is shot Matrix style with some bonus white doves, John Woo style.
Technical assessment: The Blu-ray features an extended edition, which is the one we've watched. Other than that, the picture and the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack are very, but very, below average. It's a shame, really.
Overall: I was disappointed. 2 out of 5 stars.