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STEP BROTHERS, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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STEP BROTHERS
Movie Review
Directed by Adam McKay
Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Adam Scott
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

Two spoiled guys become competitive stepbrothers after their single parents get hitched.

REVIEW:

Is this the end of Will Ferrell?

I never thought I'd say that but it seems that his career has hit the skids. Even teaming up with his most successful writing partner and director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talledaga Nights), hasn't done him any good in Step Brothers.

Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and John C. Reilly. I think Anchorman is one of the greatest movies in history. Not greatest comedy, but greatest movie! So as a reviewer, I hoped this would be a great film. Never have I wanted more for a movie to be good this year than Step Brothers. But it's not a good film and I am saddened by it.

What went wrong?

This is a film that seemed rushed. There are many great moments in this film but there are more not so great moments. I don't think they truly knew what they were trying to say.

The two character's Ferrell and Reilly play are basically losers who have never grown up. At age 40, they still live with their parents and have no career or life prospects on the horizon. They are emotionally blocked human beings and something needs to happen. In many ways this concept is funny, but it's also extremely pathetic and sad.

The art of comedy is to make sure that it's much more funny than it is sad and Director Adam McKay was fighting a losing battle in this film. This is a Hollywood movie that really should of been an indy dark-comedy type of film. In the script and in the direction, McKay needed to make sure that people liked these the Step Brothers. But that's hard when they do things that are so stupid and insensitive, you want to cry for them more than laugh at and with them. They should of just made the movie I think they wanted to make and I don't think they did that.

One of the easy rules of comedy is have these types of loser characters not in on the joke. So they think they're fine even though everyone laughs at them. But these guys know their losers and so do we, so it's not that funny. Imagine laughing at someone who's mentally challenged in real life! You'd have to be a real jerk to do that and I just couldn't laugh at some of the many things they were doing.

Another problem is the antagonist who is one of the step brother's younger brother. He's successful but the price he's paid for it is being a jackass. This character has too many cliches and is just not funny either. A wasted character in a movie that can't have one.

You wonder what ever happened to the funny bad guy in movies. They have great villains in drama and action films, but not comedy. Why? These types of characters should be the funniest ones in the film. Is it the star's ego where they need to be the funniest people in the film and not the newer comedy actor who's playing a sidekick or villain role? Without saying any names, this does happen in the industry a lot, especially with the comic stars. I don't know if it happened in Step Brothers, but it does make me wonder.

To summarize and repeat, I don't think they really knew what they were trying to say in this film either. They came up with a theme (the art of life is being childlike and adultlike!) at the end of the 3rd act because they needed an ending. And the irony is that the 3rd act is some of the best stuff in the film. It makes you wonder why they didn't start where they finished.

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Comedies especially need a theme. If we know what they're talking about, it makes it funnier for the audience because we are completely involved in the film. We emotionally involved and when you care, you laugh - bottom line. Think back to your favorite comedy films and you'll see a great theme in it.

Step Brothers is just trying to make us laugh and they only work 50% of the time. Ferrell and Reilly are such great actors, they are funny even when they aren't trying to be. So this isn't an entirely bad film, it just doesn't work most of the time.

2 stars out of 4!

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