Movie Review
Step Brothers
Step Brothers poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published July 25, 2008
US Release: July 25, 2008

Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: John C. Reilly , Will Ferrell , Adam Scott , Mary Steenburgen

Running Time: 98 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $100,540,000
21 of 117
The movie pushes more buttons than a lot of comedies do. It's basically what you would come to expect with this silly ensemble, but some scenes might be funnier than expected.
Step Brothers will be funnier than some people expect. Moviegoers who are amused by incessantly profane and extremely immature social interactions will find a lot to like in this harsh, stupid comedy. But its incessant profanity might turn off some people if their sense of humor isn't as harsh and edgy. This is another guy's comedy like 40-Year-Old Virgin, except there isn't a romantic comedy spin to turn this into as much of a sleeper chick flick box office success in comparison. The movie is, however, an easier sell than the R-rated Semi-Pro, which was just harsh without any sense of heart to its comedy. Step Brothers, while very vulgar in its attitude, is more of a crowd pleaser considering it has a lighthearted and sweet story at times. It has some rough spots in its pace, but the movie is still fun and entertaining. The movie has more laughs than I was expecting in terms of shock humor, but there are also times when some of the performances are just cheap caricatures for slapstick.

Ferrell and Reilly are good together. Some of their material is hit and miss, but they both have a clear determination to soak everything for what it's worth even when the material is damn silly, and it pays off. There are really goofy scenes that work because they're playing the material on just the right level without embarrassing themselves. It was obvious in their scenes in Talladega Nights that these two had something going, and this was the kind of ideal follow-up to that brotherly vibe. Step Brothers could have been a classic R-rated comedy, and there are scenes that indicate that it could have achieved that status with even more effort. It's an entertaining flick with some really funny envelope-pushing, gross-out scenes here and there, but it still doesn't go all the way in shock value, consistently. One scene involving a drum set went a mile further than I anticipated -- and after the big money shot, I wished the movie had a lot more of this risky and surprising R-rated comedy.

Step Brothers borrows a little from the comedy style behind There's Something About Mary (B) and Me, Myself & Irene (B), both involving foul language and shock value. Ironically, Richard Jenkins, a Farrelly Bros. vet, happens to be in all three. Step Brothers comes close to reaching the level of those R-rated comedies, but it falls short by just a little. Those movies were more complete, both comedically and in terms of fulfilling their story's potential. Still, Step Brothers pushes more buttons than a lot of comedies do. It's basically what you would come to expect with this silly ensemble, but some scenes might be funnier than expected.

For me, the movie was a closer example of what Wedding Crashers (C+) should've been like -- dirty, foul, and fearless. Crashers, despite being R-rated and having an ideal story for its on-screen duo, was too safe, sentimental, and cute in its attitude. Though Step Brothers is "kind of" cute and sweet, it has enough bold humor to please edgier moviegoers. The movie is a pretty good R-rated antidote for the time being until Tropic Thunder makes its way.
Lee's Grade: B-
Ranked #21 of 117 between Benjamin Button (#20) and Rachel Getting Married (#22) for 2008 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 3025 graded movies
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'Step Brothers' Articles
  • Craig's review B
    July 26, 2008    I hope Ferrell and Reilly are already planning their next vehicle together cause they really know how to play off one another. They make Step Brothers one funny summer flick. -- Craig Younkin