Step Brothers

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Step Brothers

Review (2/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

Once upon a time, parents sent their children off into the world to forge their own paths. Desperate to show their independence, the children would inhabit hovel-like dwellings until they could afford something better. Eventually, they would find their significant other, marry and have children. Occasionally, they would come home to visit.

Somewhere along the way things changed. Perhaps because of economics, or perhaps because we are creating a generation of adults who are not equipped with the tools to take the leap into independence, young people are no longer leaving the family fold. They are coming home in droves. And some of them are never leaving.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before a group of Hollywood funnymen decided to place this social phenomenon under their comedic lens.

Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) are two men who have been riding the parental gravy train for far too long. Brennan lives with his mother, Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) and Dale with his father, Robert (Richard Jenkins). When Nancy and Robert decide to get married, Brennan and Dale find themselves having to learn to co-exist. Comedic antics ensue.

Step Brothers, a film based upon a screenplay written by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (who co-wrote Anchorman and Talladega Nights) and John C. Reilly, had all the potential to be funny. The premise was funny. The cast was funny. And the film's two lead actors are gifted comedians and actors who have the ability to carry a funny film with ease.

Unfortunately, Ferrell, McKay and Reilly decided to take another route. Instead of creating the comedic film equivalent of "The Wedding Crashers", they have instead taken a page out of the "Dumb and Dumber" playbook. They have created a film that is silly, juvenile, rude and, at times, just plain mean.

As I left the theater, shaking my head in disgust, I tried to unravel whether I am simply becoming humorless in my old age, or whether Hollywood's comedic writers are devolving into a group of potty-mouthed vulgarians who no longer know what is funny or in good taste.

Having enjoyed "The Wedding Crashers", "Knocked Up" and "Superbad", I concluded that my sense of humor is safely intact. My revulsion after watching "Step Brothers" is the legitimate result of a poorly-written film that insults the intelligence and the common decency of its audience.

While 2007 was a banner year for comedies, 2008 is shaping up to be a bitter disappointment. I have yet to see an original comedy that is worth a trip to the theater. But, I have not yet abandoned all hope - August brings us the promise of Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express? They are supposed to be funny. I am reserving my judgment.

But, as far as "Step Brothers" is concerned I, for one, would kick this pair out of the house.


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