TBT – Step Brothers (2008)

buddy comedy, family, fucking funny, John C. Reilly, silly, TBT, Will Ferrell

After watching Sisters for this week’s Tuesday review I was all set to re-watch Baby Mama for the accompanying TBT post. However, the last few days have been tough and I haven’t had the time. So, in keeping with the apparent theme of the week, I had to come up with a plan B. When Sisters first came out last year a lot of critics made a connection between it and the Will Ferrell/John C Reilly film Step Brothers. It just so happens that I fucking love that film so it didn’t take much to persuade me to review it for this week’s post. It’s one of those Will Ferrell films that you can just quote on any occasion and it is an unrelentingly funny film. If there was any film that deserved a TBT review then it was this one. Plus, the idea of having to watch the shitty Baby Mama again was too fucking abysmal. I mean that family guy joke about the film totally rings true. “What happens when a 40 year old woman asks her 41 year old friend to carry her baby?” I love the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler but that film is so hard to love. Give me Will Ferrell and John C Reilly shouting and fighting any day of the week.

I have to admit that I have an intense fondness for John C Reilly. I think ever since I saw him in the film Chicago as a teenager I’ve always felt a certain amount of joy when I see him on a cast list. Reilly is both a tremendous actor and a hugely funny performer. It’s no wonder that, after they first teamed up for Talladega Nights that Will Ferrell was keen to repeat the experience. There can be no denying that the pair have exceptional chemistry and Step Brothers plays on their comedic connection perfectly. They get to be silly, outrageous and play off each other’s silly outrageousness. If anything their second film together only further proves that the two actors should work together in everything.

Step Brothers deals with two 40 years who refuse to grow up and laze around their parent’s houses. When Brennan Huff’s (Will Ferrell) mother, Nancy (Mary Steenburgen), marries Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins) the man-child finds himself at odds with his new step-brother, Dale (John C. Reilly). When the two find themselves as roommates they take an instant dislike to each other despite having so much in common. They fight and cause problems for their weary parents. However, a vist from Brennan’s younger brother, Derek (Adam Scott), shows the two men that, as well as a dislike of their annoying sibling, they share a whole host of interests. Facing eviction from Robert’s house, Brennan and Dale must work together to turn their lives around and find employment. But can their dream of starting an entertainment company really come to life?

Step Brothers is the kind of film that was created for its audience rather than critics. It isn’t as clever or original as some of Will Ferrell and writing partner, Adam McKay, have previously created but it will satisfy anyone who enjoys their silly, adolescent sense of humour. This isn’t a film that wants to make some sort of social commentary about the increasing number of grown-adults who still live in their parental homes. No no, this is a film that just wants to make you laugh and it manages to do this thanks to the undeniable chemistry between the two main stars. It is a testament to the two that they make Brennan and Dale such lovable characters as they could so easily have been nothing more than obnoxious and annoying dicks.

There are several aspects of the film that don’t work as well as the two actors, of course. No matter how good the talent on screen is they never quite manage to convince that the world they inhabit is one in which people would put up with Brennan and Dale’s shit. I know this is a movie and should be viewed with a pinch of salt but even by Hollywood’s standards these guys would have been slapped many years ago. It does occasionally take a huge suspension of disbelief to go along with it. Still, it just so happens that there is enough funny stuff to make it much easier to ignore that nagging feeling at the back of your mind. The gags aren’t always successful and the more adult stuff doesn’t exactly fit with McKay and Ferrell’s previous films but, in the end, there is more than enough to funny shit here to get you laughing your tits off.

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