PSA: Step Brothers (2008), or Where Are My Manners?

5 07 2009

Have you ever had the urge to say something totally inappropriate in public? How about doing something that is totally unlike you? Or making a joke that might cost you an opportunity? Well, I secretly always have in the back of my mind a set of things that I would like to say and do in certain situations that I refrain from so as to not be a social pariah. They’re crazy, wacky things that I would NEVER do under any circumstances, but they’re still there, and so when I see a Will Ferrell movie where he goes absolutely ape-shit and does a lot of the stuff on my secret shameful list, it tickles me to no end. Step Brothers, the next most recent Adam McKay, is the ultimate inappropriate comedy, and after seeing it about a half dozen times, I still get blown away by some of the stuff they do and say here.

Step Brothers focuses on the relationship between Brennan and Dale, two 40 year olds who have recently been made relatives by their respective parents marrying. They’re complete shitheads, both STILL living at home, making their parents miserable. So when the two of them get together after their parents move in with each other, the shit starts to fly as they make each other miserable. Things escalate, fights break out, drum sets get destroyed, more fights break out, and then they become friends. So after that- HUH?!?!? It’s a complicated process, but eventually the two bond, talk about their favorite things, and then become instant best buddies! With their combined powers of being idiots together, the sky seems like the limit for these unlikely pals and their ridiculous business model called Prestige Worldwide. But are their antics and hijincks gonna be too much for their tired and ready-to-retire parents to handle?

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly might just be the two premiere funnymen on the planet right now. They’re going out there and doing the unexpected. Just when you think they’re done pushing the envelope, they throw the damn envelope out the window! They’re nuts, and this film will stand as a testament to their mad genius. They’ve mastered the fine art of going crazy on film, and where they normally reigned it in on movies like Anchorman and Walk Hard, here it is a raging storm of insane, and it is all over the screen.

The scenes are mostly ad-libbed. They’re written in the script very vaguely, so each person gets a chance to do a few takes on each of their lines. It makes for a very spontaneous experience. Everyone’s creative energies are at a max here, including bit players Mary Steenburgen, Adam Scott, and Rob Riggle. I couldn’t believe some of the strange but awesome things coming out of their mouths. I was especially impressed by Kathryn Hahn, who has made bit parts an art form all its own in the comedy world.

Ferrell and Reilly wrote the movie together with director Adam McKay, and it shows. It’s a very hard R rating they go for here. With lines like, “I’m going to take a pillowcase and fill it full of bars of soap and beat the shit out of you!” being uttered once every five minutes, it’s not hard to imagine why. But despite the obvious adult-centric attitude surrounding the film, there’s a lot of child-like energy flowing from the plot. Brennan and Dale are like two overgrown children, except more precocious and optimistic than most kids nowadays. There’s actually a slight, slight sense of warmth and and fuzziness in the film, if you’re looking hard enough, as well as a subtle message to parents about letting your children leave the nest. But mostly it’s about two grown men building bunk beds together and beating the living shit out of one another.

I think most people on this site will like Step Brothers. If you feel where I’m coming from in the direction of comedy, you will LOVE Step Brothers. It’s the quintessential Ferrell and Reilly comedy. It has everything from Anchorman, everything from Walk Hard, and everything from Schindler’s List all rolled up into one awesome film. It’s nearly a perfect comedy for me; I’ve watched it a LOT in the past 6 months, and I’m still not tired of it. There’s so much enthusiasm coming from the screen that it’s hard to get tired. I think you’ll like it, especially if you took my side on the epic Observe and Report stand-off. I give Step Brothers 9 pillowcases filled with bars of soap out of 10. A high recommendation!!!

Tomorrow, come by again, where we’ll discuss another one of Goregirl’s recommendations: Night of The Hunter!

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