This is a sad movie about sick people.
STEP BROTHERS features Will Farrell and John C. Reilly as 40 year old men who act like 8 year old boys. This is a one note, one joke movie so if you think that is funny, you’ll love STEP BROTHERS. This film feels like a 2 hour improv piece by people who aren’t funny. There couldn’t have been much of a script to this thing.
STEP BROTHERS features gross-out humor for reasons I can’t understand. I guess this will involve *SPOILERS*.
You see Will Ferrell lick a piece of dog shit. Ferrell’s nut sack being rubbed on a snare drum. Farrell shitting and then washing his asshole out in a sink which he then wipes with a bathmat. A woman rape Reilly and then put her leg up on a wall so she can pee in a urinal. And of course, where would we be without a fart joke. A really long fart joke.
None of these scenes have any purpose or derive from the plot of the film. There is no context to them. They exist merely to gross us out and shock us and then the film moves on. None of those jokes work and few jokes in the movie do.
Brennan (Farrell) and Dale (Reilly) become step brothers when their Mother (Mary Steenburgen) and Father (Richard Jenkins) fall in love and get married. It is decided that because of their antics (and sociopathic behavior?) they must move out and get jobs. Things go terribly wrong of course, and the two brothers drive Jenkins crazy.
I was reminded of WHAT ABOUT BOB? while watching STEP BROTHERS. WHAT ABOUT BOB? features a mentally unstable person who slowly drives Richard Dreyfuss crazy. That movie succeeds on Bill Murray’s earnestness and charm. You like Bob and see why Dreyfuss’ family loves him but you also see why he would drive Dreyfuss nuts. That is a funny movie, featuring a genius comedy actor who can carry a film. STEP BROTHERS contains two idiots who have absolutely no redeeming qualities. They’re not kind, smart or even pleasant. I didn’t enjoy watching them pretend to be children, and I didn’t enjoy watching them fight and roll around on the ground in scene after scene. I think director Adam McKay thinks it is funny that two grown men would fight like little brothers do and he makes sure to give us plenty of scenes where this takes place. And there’s so much screaming! It seems like all Farrell does is yell anymore. Even when the two lugs finally become friends they go down to their basement to yell and break things. Scene after scene the jokes fall flat. You watch Jenkins’ life be ruined which isn’t funny or even played for laughs.
This leads to a finale that had to be there in order to let people go home happy and forget that they just watched two degenerate losers scream for an hour and a half. There’s a sad, unclean feeling you get from watching this movie. I didn’t want Farrell or Reilly to succeed. I just wanted them to be quiet. There’s also a reek of desperation in the film’s final sequence as the cast tries desperately to give this unfunny film a memorable quote that frat guys can say to each other across the beer pong table. They say “It’s the fuckin’ Catalina Wine Mixer!” over and over and over again. It wasn’t funny the first time or the eighth time, and their desire to have a quotable moment comes off as lame.
These people aren’t funny. They’re mean, petty, small, psychotic, rude, disgusting and not in any way amusing. Will Farrell, who previously blessed us with SEMI-PRO, needs career resuscitation. He’s simply coasting these days and picking projects in which he merely has to show off his unflattering physique while running around screaming. It’s a tired act and he is better than that. STEP BROTHERS features talented people who aren’t trying very hard. It was produced by Judd Apatow (or at least his company) and it’s unclear if he had anything to do with it but it’s clearly missing his trademark heart and warmth.
There is one funny bit involving a Billy Joel cover band that refuses to play anything other than 80s Joel. That’s about all you’re going to get from this film. STEP BROTHERS is mindless, juvenile and boring. It is totally devoid of wit or humor. Hopefully the trio of Farrell, Reilly and McKay can show up next time.