New DVD review: Step Brothers (15)By Anna Roberts
February 12, 2009
Opinions on Will Ferrell differ greatly. Some people think he’s a comedy genius. Other people think he is – well – something else.
Admittedly he has made some great films. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a cult classic with some hilarious scenes. Other efforts – including Wedding Crashers – don’t work so well with Ferrell on the periphery of irritating.
In Step Brothers, he returns to playing the typical ‘goofball’ character he so favours.
Brennan Huff, despite being 39, lives with his mum Nancy (Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen) where he has a cushy existence.
This comfortable life is threatened when Mary meets the love of her life, Dr Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins).
The pair decide to marry and – as married couples do – build a nest together. This forces the super-lazy and sporadically unemployed Brennan to share a room with his new – permanently unemployed – stepbrother Dale (John C Reilly).
Used to having their own room and being the primary object of their parents’ affections the men – as anticipated – do not get on brilliantly, or even well.
Both men are so simultaneously lazy and bone-idle – and also, curiously, sleepwalkers – that they are at each other’s throats.
This forces the family – including Brennan’s brother – into discord and threatens the newly-weds’ happiness.
It gets so bad, that Robert issues the lads with an unwelcome ultimatum – find a job in a week.
Rather predictably as the duo search for gainful employment – and united by a love of music – they become pals.
But their earlier behaviour has already had an impact with the pair’s parents doubting their supposedly lifelong union. It is up to Brennan and Dale – working together – to ensure their happiness.
Stepbrothers is funny if you (a) are a Will Ferrell-obsessive (b) have a childlike sense of humour (c) do not like your films too advanced and (d) are drunk.
Both men play their roles as if they are nine, not grown men, which might endear them to some but not many.
Meanwhile the plot is incredibly thin, proving a ‘funny’ leading man is not enough to save a film.
There are some brilliant films around at the moment (it is Oscar season after all) including Slumdog Millionaire.
While these go recommended they also prove something. That filmmakers (as in the case of Slumdog’s Danny Boyle) can be hardworking, thoughtful and insightful.
Or they can do the exact opposite and produce Step Brothers.