Directed By: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen
Tag line: "They grow up so fast"
Trivia: Director Adam McKay's original intention was to make this movie a family drama
When their single parents tie the knot, 38-year-old Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and 40-year-old Dale Doback (John C. Reilly), both of whom are unemployed and still living at home, suddenly become step brothers, which makes neither one very happy. In fact, from the moment Brennan and his mom, Nancy (Mary Steenburgen), move in with Dale and his dad, Robert (Richard Jenkins), the two new siblings are at each other’s throats. Tensions continue to run high until the night Brennan’s younger brother, Derek (Adam Scott), pays them a visit. In a fit of anger, Dale punches the obnoxious Derek square in the face, at which point he and Brennan (who despises Derek) become the best of friends. They even decide to start up a business of their own, but when this new venture causes the destruction of Robert’s beloved boat, it leads to some domestic turmoil that may spell the end of Robert and Nancy’s brief marriage.
Make no mistake: 2008's Step Brothers is a crude, occasionally mean-spirited comedy, but then what else would you expect from a movie about a couple of middle-aged guys who act like pre-teens? In one of the film’s most outlandish sequences, Dale accuses Brennan of touching his drum set, which he had warned him never to do. Brennan denies doing so (despite the fact he actually did), and in a moment of anger marches upstairs and rubs his ballsack on Dale’s drums, leading to a violent confrontation that eventually spills into the front yard. To their credit, Ferrell and Reilly, who had worked together previously in 2006’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, manage to breathe life into two self-centered, socially backward characters that do more damage as best friends than they ever did as bitter enemies (the scene where they attempt to turn their single beds into bunk-beds is absolutely hilarious). Along with its leads, Step Brothers also features strong performances by Jenkins and Steenburgen as the far-too-tolerant parents who, over time, differ on how best to deal with their annoying offspring (Nancy remains supportive throughout, offering the boys emotional support every step of the way, whereas Robert would sooner toss them out on their ears than look at them).
At times vulgar and even repellent (I had to turn away when a playground bully made Brennan lick dog shit), Step Brothers is, thanks to the chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly, also very, very funny.