Step Brothers is a stupid movie. Sure, the previous collaborations between Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay (Anchorman and Talladega Nights) are both pretty stupid too, but Step Brothers reaches far beyond these films in terms of brainlessness. The premise, plot, and characters are all absurd. That said, Step Brothers is very funny at times. No, this movie is not the next Anchorman, but it is a step up from the wobbly performances of Semi-Pro and Walk Hard.
The plot is simple: A single mom (Mary Steenburgen) with a 39-year-old unemployed son (Will Ferrell) marries a single dad (Richard Jenkins) who also has a 40-year-old son (John C. Reilly) living at home. They all move in under the same roof and the brown stuff hits the fan. Despite being enemies at first, the two stepbrothers eventually band together in an effort to save their parents’ marriage and finally join the adult world.
The first 30 minutes of Step Brothers are rough. Setting up the plot takes a while and the initial Ferrell/Reilly interactions aren’t that funny. Consequently, viewers are forced to pay attention to how ridiculous the plot really is. Instead of laughing, I was just left wondering why these two middle-aged men were acting like 13-year-olds.
However, things improve when Adam Scott (HBO’s “Tell Me You Love Me”) shows up as Ferrell’s younger brother, who is more successful but also a huge jackass. In an unexpectedly hilarious performance, Scott steals the show with a flurry of memorable scenes. For example, he nearly crashes his Range Rover while forcing his family to give a hysterical a capella rendition of “Sweet Child of Mine.” Ferrell and Reilly rush to catch up, and an hour into the movie, I was laughing my ass off just like I did in Anchorman and Talladega Nights. This momentum carries all the way into the final scene, which was awesome.
Also, keep in mind that Steenburgen is really hot for a woman in her 50s, and Step Brothers shows it with some very flattering shots.
If the image of Ferrell pulling out his (hopefully) fake set of testicles and tea bagging his brother’s drum will make you laugh, then you’ll probably like Step Brothers despite its flaws. However, for anyone who will be bothered by a slow start and a total lack of a cohesive or plausible plot, go rent Anchorman and bathe yourself in the warm nostalgia of what Ferrell once was.