Step Brothers: Ballad of a Teabagged Drum Set

There are films such as Step Brothers that when I hear of their release I groan and try to forget about them. And usually that’s a wise decision. But occasionally you come across a really silly and stupid comedy that’s actually relatively good (cue The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad, among others). It was only recently I became a fan of John C. Reilly (or perhaps more aptly put, ‘It was only recently I became a fan of Reed Rothchild’) and so I felt obliged to see this outrageous film.

I was… surprised. It was good. There were genuinely funny scenes, and the dialogue is actually very humorous, if immature and overused. They are not the sort of thing you would feel comfortable laughing at, and even when you do, its in a much more comfortable climate. Step Brothers is very uncomfortable.

It is a film about a man who marries a woman. They both live with their respective sons, who are both pushing forty (or should I say ‘the sons both live with their respective parents’) and are lazy and unemployed. John C. Reilly is his son and Will Ferrell is hers. Initially they both hate each other, as in the scene when Reilly strokes his scrotum along the surface of Ferrell’s beloved drum set. But eventually the two become friends and get into some strange and often very stupid shenanigans.

There is an unmistakable level of almost unforgivable immaturity. The two middle-aged men act like they are twelve, perhaps due to a lack of communication with the outside world. The chemistry between them works on a level of brotherhood, but is slightly doubtful. They predictably manage to pit their parents against each other whilst in the midst of their own self-indulgent feuds.

In the film’s funniest scene, the boys (ask me to call them men, I shall laugh in your face) preview a music video they have secretly created. Reilly’s father is shocked to see his prized boat being used within the video as the two boys (ha-ha) rap about ‘boats and hoes’. The video ends with the boat being accidentally destroyed. Ha, ha.

It is moments like these we realize how stupid the characters are, and yet there is some mysterious intrigue and curiosity about them that draws us in. Mostly we just want to see what they will do to each other next. There are terrific moments (“I heard my son shout RAPE.” “He was gonna rape me, he had that look in his eye and he said Let’s get it on!” “I was talking about the fight, dipshit!”) all throughout and some generally amusing scenarios. But overall, there are a few disappointing things: Ferrell and Reilly have good comedy, but they just don’t know how to present it. Quickly enough, we get tired of their shenanigans and begin to think that perhaps their characters actually do have some sort of mental deficiency.

If you don’t get tired of people shouting at each other, attacking each other, burying each other alive, breaking bunk beds over each other and just generally acting nonsensical, and you like comedy, then Step Brothers may just be the movie for you. But I warn you, don’t expect too much. You might just be very disappointed.

My Rating: 6/10

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About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on March 15, 2011, in Movie Reviews, Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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