After receiving decidedly lukewarm-at-best receptions to Semi-Pro andWalk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, both Will Ferrell (Stranger ThanFiction, Blades of Glory) and John C. Reilly (Magnolia, Chicago) were inneed of a chance to redeem themselves with their core comedy audiences.And in Step Brothers, they found it.
Step Brothers is the story of Brennan Huff (Ferrell) and Dale Doback(Reilly), two terminally unemployed 40-year-olds who each live with andspend their time sponging off of their single parents. But whenBrennan's mom, Nancy (Mary Steenburgen), and Dale's dad, Robert (RichardJenkins) meet and marry, it looks like Brennan and Dale's extra-longfree ride is about to come to an end.
Largely conceived of by Ferrell, Reilly and writer/director Adam McKay(Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) as a chance to work togetheragain after all the fun they had on Talladega Nights: The Ballad ofRicky Bobby, Step Brothers is a return to the glory of classic WillFerrell comedies like Old School - and then some. As it was co-writtenby Ferrell and McKay, Step Brothers is without question all about thelaughs - and they are many. In fact, I dare say Step Brothers might go astep further than Ferrell's other movies because this one (insertapplause here) is R-rated. And without the constraints of a PG-13, theseboys blossom - using my favorite medium of blue humor to its absolutefullest. Swears and dirty names abound in Step Brothers to great effect,and -- true to producer Judd Apatow's trademark - there is some verycreative use of male nudity that had me screaming in my seat.
Not that I'm saying Step Brothers is cinematic perfection. Even thefilmmakers will admit that the plot is thin at best, but they will alsotell you - and I think rightly so - that plot is secondary to a movielike this, whose main function is just to make you laugh at any cost.And for the most part they do that quite well, although about two-thirdsof the way through the laughs start to slow a bit.
Ferrell's and Reilly's characters are even more ridiculous than usual,going well beyond hyperbole and essentially asking us to swallow thattwo such pseudo-retarded adult children could ever actually exist in anotherwise normal world. But if you can suspend your disbelief and goalong for the ride, it is certainly a fun one. Costars Adam Scott(Knocked Up, Tell Me You Love Me) and Kathryn Hahn (The Last Mimzy, TheHoliday) are absolutely hilarious as Brennan's impossibly weenie-esquebrother and his impossibly-repressed, half-crazed wife.
In short: I thought the movie was hysterical, and I definitely think itis worth a trip to the theater. Ferrell, Reilly: consider yourselfredeemed.