Movie Review
Step Brothers
Step Brothers poster
By Craig Younkin     Published July 26, 2008
US Release: July 25, 2008

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

R
Running Time: 98 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $100,540,000
B
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.
In a summer filled with superheroes it’s about time that two pale, flabby white guys dominate a weekend for a change. Enter “Step Brothers," probably one of the funniest looking trailers to hit movie screens in a long time. Now that doesn’t always spell comedy success but I can’t deny that Will Ferrell and John C Reilly appear to be having fun together and if “Talladega Nights” is any indication, this should be another solid comedy hit for the two of them. It turns out that it’s a funny, if somewhat uneven movie that proves the two of them are still very much in touch with their inner 5-year old.

Ferrell is Brennan and Reilly is Dale, two forty something losers still living at home with their parents, Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Nancy (Mary Steenburgen). Just when Robert and Nancy fall in love and get married, a shake-up occurs. Brennan and Dale are forced to share a room with one another, a rivalry is created, and to top it all off, the newlyweds are sick of the free-loading and want the guys getting jobs and moving out pronto.

Director and co-writer Adam McKay know what Will Ferrell’s strengths are, having worked with him on SNL, “Anchorman," and “Talladega," and it’s pretty obvious that John C. Reilly is a fellow brother in childish enthusiasm. If there is any reason to see “Step Brothers," it’s to watch everyone else stay out of their way and let them do their thing. There are moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity. When the two meet, they spend most of their first night together telling the other the terrible things they’re going to do to them. The sibling rivalry only gets more delightfully absurd, and since this movie has the balls (and it literally shows them to you in one hilarious scene) to go for the “R” rating, the F-bombs fly and crudity is in full supply.

And I’m happy the movie didn’t lose this momentum it builds up. It’s just as funny when these two start to like each other as it is when they hate each other. The bunk bed scene in the trailer is still just as funny, when the two go on job interviews I laughed out-loud, and the rap video and even the ending operatic sonata is terrific. Ferrell and Reilly just own every scene they're in with a hilarious deadpan and a child-like innocence that never gets old.

The supporting cast also plays off of them well. Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen are suitably annoyed as the long-suffering parents, Adam Scott turns on the douche-ness as Brennan’s controlling brother Derek, and Kathryn Hahn gets a good subplot as Derek’s long-suffering wife, a woman so eager to break free of him she begins a love affair with the seemingly virginal Dale. It’s Ferrell and Reilly’s movie though and when they're together, the movie couldn’t be better.

“Step Brothers” does unfortunately come to a stand-still later on when the moralizing and life lessons are finally learned and you just kind of wish it would trim a good 15 - 20 minutes, but for the most part this movie is pretty solid. It introduces a fantastic comedy team and I actually hoped they would do a sequel with these characters sometime in the future. I even had an idea for a future installment - two retirees puttering away their senior years still going to Star Trek and comic book conventions. Nonetheless, I hope this isn’t the last time we hear from Brennan and Dale, and I definitely hope that 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's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 335 graded movies
A11.0%
B41.5%
C31.6%
D15.5%
F0.3%
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'Step Brothers' Articles
  • Lee's review B-
    July 25, 2008    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. -- Lee Tistaert