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  Step Brothers So ImmatureBuy this film here.
Year: 2008
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Andrea Savage, Lurie Poston, Elizabeth Yozamp, Logan Manus, Seth Rogen, Phil LaMarr, Rob Riggle, Ken Jeong, Horatio Sanz
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: When their eyes met across a crowded conference room, medical supplies experts Dr Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins) and Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen) knew it was love at first sight, and as they were both single, they had no qualms about jumping into bed with each other that very evening in the hotel. Soon they were discussing marriage, and their retirement plan to sail the world in the yacht they could buy with their savings seemed like the perfect way to spend the rest of their lives. But won't somebody think of the children?

Perhaps the word children was misleading, as although both had sons from their previous marriages who were living with them, Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Dale (John C. Reilly) were both embarking on the adventure of middle age, not that you'd know it from the way they behaved: basically as if they were still fourteen years old. That was the central joke, two grown men who acted like anything but, and from some angles it was a slim one, but once it settled down and you took a look at how both stars threw themselves into their childish antics - they co-wrote the script with director Adam McKay - you began to see what they saw in the project.

Which was pretty much an excuse to indulge in some very juvenile humour, banking on the idea that seeing two fortysomethings who thought they deserved to live like teenagers was funny. Certainly there had been a trend in popular entertainment, not only films, which featured male leads who refused to mature when they were at an age where their parents' generation would have settled down, but few went quite to the extremes they did in Step Brothers, taking that as far as it would go to suggest that your essential movie manchild was insane. When Robert and Nancy move in with each other, their offspring must do the same.

At first there is animosity between them, a jealousy that their parents will be taken away from them in the affections of their new partner, giving rise to what can best be described as slapstick as the boys brawl and generally smash up the place when this is brought to a head. The story could have easily continued in that vein for the next ninety minutes, but after an opening that appears to express disdain for the two leads, it was as if the writers thought, wait a minute, these guys are something close to heroic if they can get away with living like this for so long, and in a deeply unfashionable way asks us to give them our (grudging?) respect for their lifestyle.

Thus the step brothers begin to acknowledge how much they have in common and team up to save their circumstances when it looks as if their parents will be going on that round the world trip sooner rather than later, and will be ordering them out and demanding they get jobs. Not only are they insane, but you'd have to be crazy to employ them, so the interviews do not go well, therefore the boys think up a way to rescue themselves from the horrors of the responsible life. A product of the Judd Apatow comedy stable, this may not have been one of their biggest successes, but it was one of their purely funniest, embracing the ludicrous situations (the fight over the drumkit, the little kids who bully them, the destructive sleepwalking it turns out they both do) and setting up the Adam Scott character, as Brennan's younger, far more successful brother, as a nightmare of what could happen if you ever did decide to act like an adult. Yes, it was bloody stupid, but that was its virtue. Music by Jon Brion.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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