Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes, Commentaries, Featurettes, Music Video and Behind-the-scenes Rehearsal Footage.
IT MAY be hopelessly juvenile and borderline crass but there’s a guilty pleasure about watching Step Brothers that’s capable of appealing to everyone’s inner child.
The film marks the third pairing of Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay (which started with Anchorman) and the second with co-star John C Reilly (of Talladega Nights), and it benefits from the obvious chemistry that exists between the two leading men.
Thirty-nine-year-old Brennan (Ferrell) and 40-year-old Dale (Reilly) are two layabouts who are forced to live together when the former’s mum (Mary Steenburgen) meets and marries the latter’s father (Richard Jenkins).
But while they initially loathe each other, the step-siblings eventually come to rely on each other and soon find themselves attempting to embrace maturity and battling to save their parents’ failing relationship.
On paper, the above concept could have made the characters difficult to like (as in the dismal Failure To Launch) but Ferrell and Reilly ensure that audiences seldom get the chance to judge because they’re spending too much time laughing at the various situations the pair find themselves in.
A couple of sleep-walking encounters and a fight over Dale’s beloved drum kit, which involves Brennan’s testicles, are laugh-out-loud funny, as is an extended montage of the brothers’ attempts to get a job (thereby creating room for the obligatory Seth Rogen cameo).
The film is less successful when attempting to come over all touchy-feely for the inevitably feel-good conclusion but even then McKay works hard to keep the cheesier moments a little more edgy and caps things off with a brilliant fight sequence involving rowdy neighbourhood kids during the end credits.
And while the central pairing is the main reason for seeing it, Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen deserve credit for being able to play things so straight-laced (Jenkins, in particular, does exasperated brilliantly) and there’s also nice supporting turns from Adam Scott, as Ferrell’s brother Derek, and Kathryn Hahn, as his frustrated wife.
Step Brothers is undoubtedly a consistently stupid experience that exists on a predictably hit-and-miss basis, but it also has enough in its locker to keep even the most cynically minded viewer amused. Just make sure you tap into your inner child before entering the cinema!
Running time: 97mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: February 2, 2009
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