Newest Review: ... behave most of the time like spoiled kids. I have to admit I found it funny in parts but not the best movie I'd ever seen. Will Ferell'... more
Member Name: sunmeilan
Step Brothers (DVD)
Advantages: Love the pairing of Ferrell and Reilly
Disadvantages: Slips a bit towards the end
Will Ferrell is an actor I really struggle with; I find him deeply annoying at worst and at best, he is just not that funny. For this reason, I avoided this film for a long time, thinking that it was just going to be more of the same. And it is more of the same. Yet, perhaps because his presence is diluted by John C Reilly, this film is thoroughly enjoyable - stupid and childish, yes, but definitely entertaining. As Brennan, Ferrell plays an adult child, complete with childish tantrums and strops - the only time he shows his age is through his (often disgusting) sexual sense of humour and his masturbating. Thankfully, we don't see him masturbating on screen, but it is talked about and we do get to see him wiping his 'nut-sack' over his step brother's drum set (thankfully, it was a fake set of balls!). He is outrageous and silly, but his performance doesn't take the whole film over for a change, and so it is just enough to be funny without going too far over the top.
In many ways, John C Reilly is a mirror image of Will Ferrell - not just in looks, although they do actually look quite similar - but in his performance. Nevertheless, I found him more appealing that Ferrell, perhaps because I'm not so familiar with him as an actor and so his performance was a little more refreshing. I really enjoyed the way that he and Ferrell bounced off each other, just like two five year olds might. It shouldn't have worked, it should have been deeply embarrassing, but it did work and was thoroughly enjoyable. Like Brennan, his sense of humour is often a little close to the cuff and I can thoroughly understand that many people would find it offensive. It worked for me though and I'm now persuaded that I should watch Talladega Nights.
Also fantastic were the parents; Mary Steenburgen as Brennan's mother and Richard Jenkins as Dale's father. Mary Steenburgen was particularly good, acting exactly as you would expect the mother of a five year old to act, with a completely straight face. Jenkins was also great - especially when Brennan pushes him to extremes and he snaps and gives him a good spanking! Adam Scott as Brennan's slimy brother, Derek, is also good, although a little over the top. Kathryn Hahn plays Derek's down-trodden wife and falls in love with Dale because of his way of dealing with Derek. Hahn goes a little too far in the role and, although funny to an extent, leaves a slightly bad taste in the mouth. A little more control in the performance would have gone a long way.
This is absolutely a guy comedy. It is full of dirty jokes and sexual references that you wouldn't want your gran to hear. It also isn't suitable for children, hence the 15 rating, although I can imagine that many have seen it. The childishness of the humour makes it most appropriate for men in their late teens and earlyish twenties, but will really appeal to anyone with a silly sense of humour who isn't averse to a lot of sexual content. Then again, it is hard to believe that anyone who doesn't have that sort of a sense of humour would watch a film starring Will Ferrell anyway. If you disapprove of that type of humour, stay well clear.
With regards to the plot, there isn't really a great one - this is a story about the relationship of the step brothers and their immediate family. The focus is really on the one-liners, the humour and the ridiculous escapades that the brothers get themselves into. This is fine for this type of film. Again, if you're hoping for a thought-provoking film dealing with serious issues, you wouldn't really be watching a Will Ferrell film. I did think that the film tailed off a little towards the end. Some of the funniest parts of the film were towards the beginning - or perhaps it's just that one person can only take so much of this type of humour before it begins to lose its freshness. Nevertheless it is generally a really entertaining film - if the humour is your type of humour.
There are several special features. Firstly, 'extended and alternate scenes' - these are a bit of light-hearted fun, not necessary to watch though. The same goes for 'Line-o-rama', which zones in on some of the one-liners from the film. 'Dale vs Brennan' concentrates on the rivalry between the brothers before they become friends - it's lifted straight from the film, so it's nothing but a chance to see highlights again. The gag reel is actually very funny. It shouldn't be, after having seen the film, but there's something highly amusing about watching the actors try to cope with their lines and failing because they can't stop laughing. Or maybe it's just me. Finally, there's a music video that is partially shown in the film, involving the step brothers rapping. There isn't much to it, so only worth a glimpse if you're a real fan of the film or the main actors.
Sometimes, watching a film that doesn't involve switching the brain on is exactly what is needed, and that is definitely the case with this film. The humour is highly stupid, very dirty and more or less relentless, so if that is what you want, you shouldn't be too disappointed. If that doesn't appeal, then try another genre. For what it is, this film delivers; for me, the added bonus is that Will Ferrell doesn't take the whole film over, allowing John C Reilly to do his stuff as well. Ultimately, that is what made it work for me. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £3.99.
Running time: 98 minutes
Summary: Childish, but much better than expected