INCLUDE_DATA

STEPBROTHERS (2008) *** movie review by COOP

Posted on July 30th, 2008
Posted on July 30th, 2008


People who go to see a movie starring Will Ferrell usually know what they’re in for. Juvenile humor, gross-out jokes, a man acting like a child… all these aspects are considered standard in his presence. So when people go to see them and come out complaining, it baffles me. It’s a Will Ferrell-type comedy with Will Ferrell-style humor.

Don’t count on this one being a humorous think-piece. That’s why “Stranger Than Fiction” bombed. Nobody wants to see a semi-serious Will Ferrell. “Stepbrothers” is exactly what you expect it to be. If you’re not sure about the degree of outrageousness, check the rating. This one is “R,” so you can expect the grossness and raunchiness to achieve high levels of offense. Skip it if you don’t care for this type of humor. If you previously liked films such as “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” and “Superbad,” this comedy has been created expressly for you. See this rude and crude laugh-riot immediately. In fact, this film reminds me of the Adam Sandler vehicle “Billy Madison,” only with a comic duo and a riskier rating.

When Dr. Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins) and Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen) meet at a medical conference, they form an instant attraction and get a quickie marriage. One of their strongest bonding points: both of them have unemployed 40 year-old sons that still live at home and mooch off of them. Much to the horror of the two sons, Dale (John C. Reilly) and Brennan (Ferrell), the two families move in together. This sparks first a hilariously intense stepsibling rivalry, then an evitable friendship as the two realize they have everything in common. When the parents decide to retire early to sail around the world, they send a clear message to both sons: “Get jobs and get out so we can sell the house.” What follows is a hilarious chain of events as the stepbrothers fail, learn to succeed and grow as human beings.

John C. Reilly has excellent comedic talents and plays well off of Ferrell, but Ferrell clearly steals each scene. I can imagine director Adam McKay telling him to act like an eight year-old and Ferrell running with it. Often, it’s hard to tell if their characters are supposed to be mentally deficient, but later it’s clear they are simply immature and over-the-top morons. It’s a screwball comedy. Realism is not a requirement; hijinks are. Some highlights include: The brothers fighting over a drum set, their similar sleepwalking habits, their attempt at a rap video, the father’s mental breakdown over their antics and the character Derek who forces his wife and children to sing an a cappella version of “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” in the car.

Richard Jenkins surprises as the harried father. Normally, he portrays ultra-serious authority figures, but he pulls off some great lines and scenes. Mary Steenburgen plays her predictable, sweet self as an enabling and overly supportive mother (and for some reason, she looked like she had spent way too much time in the tanning bed). Adam Scott steals a few scenes as Brennan’s successful, cocky and mean brother, Derek. Scott often plays this type of character, so it’s easy to revel in his eventual comeuppance. Some of the best, and raunchiest, scenes come from Derek’s unsatisfied wife, Alice (Kathryn Hahn) and her interaction with Dale. Derek bullies the stepbrothers mercilessly causing Dale to do something Brennan would never do… punch Derek out. This rebellious act catches Alice’s attention and she becomes obsessed with Dale, going to uproariously inappropriate lengths to express her attraction to him. Ferrell also has a love interest in a beautiful therapist whom he stalks and harasses throughout the film. How he finally lands her is absurd but how can you measure absurdity in a film where grown men karate chop pumpkins in their parents’ garage and get beat up by pre-teens?

I noticed some nice touches that emphasized the depth of Ferrell’s and Reilly’s immaturity. Ferrell always drinks blue Kool-Aid and Reilly always wears a “Star Wars” Yoda shirt. Ferrell has a samurai sword autographed by “American Idol’s” Randy Jackson and Reilly has a tree house loaded with “Hustler” magazines. Most amusing of all are the inventively profane insults and threats they hurl at each other when in enemy mode.

The ending sends mixed messages about the final lifestyle choices of Dale and Brennan. I suppose they learn a lot about themselves but the father’s advice to them at the climax seemed more like a symptom of a mental breakdown than a passionate lesson in “being yourself.” It’s not supposed to have a meaningful message. One look at Ferrell’s face and you can’t help but laugh. That’s all you need from this silly summer romp.

Don’t bring children to this film. Many viewers may be unaware of the R-rating until they hear the first few obscenities. This is nowhere near as clean as “Blades of Glory” or “Elf.” If you prefer your comedies moronic and zany, this one will appeal to you. However, don’t hunt me down and say, “I saw ‘Stepbrothers’ and didn’t care for it.” I’ve warned you already.

3 out of 5 stars

Trailer below…

No Comments •

Comments

Search
Search Form
Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

The Small Town Critic’s SCREENWRITING SERVICES
Follow Coop on Twitter...
    follow me on twitter
    Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
    Archives
    Subscribe via Email!

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Subscribe via RSS feed!