Jon Favreau’s character in Swingers famously lamented his misguided belief about success in Hollywood: “When I lived in New York they made it sound like they were giving out sitcoms to stand-ups at the airport.” After watching The Brothers Solomon, I’m convinced that such comic relief should indeed be recruited at the airports, because 1) obviously, we have a shortage of good comics, and 2) if you get these guys when they’re vulnerable, breaking their spirits won’t be too difficult a task. While we’re at it, we should petition for a little screenwriting filter at studio security checkpoints, because for Will Forte to have actually brought this script to the screen, somebody indeed has made a huge mistake.
The Brothers Solomon is the story of two socially inept adult brothers, Dean (Forte) and John (Will Arnett), who get out into the dating world for the first time. Audiences will undoubtedly notice a few similarities to The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, but The Brothers Solomon serves as an example of just how terrible this sort of film can turn out when not directed, written, or produced by Judd Apatow. Unlike Mr. Apatow’s use of absurdity within more realistic situations, Forte has slapped together an awkward backstory through which we learn that John and Dean were raised by their single father near the North Pole, where they obviously had no interaction with the opposite sex. Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) plays the father of John and Dean, and it seems rather unfortunate that this movie probably served as Majors’ hope of pumping a bit of life into his career, yet his character spends almost all of his onscreen time in a coma. The brothers learn that their father’s last wish is to gain a grandchild before he dies. This revelation prompts the brothers to go out into the world and impregnate someone — anyone — to fulfill their father’s desires, which leads to the limb-adorned snowball of a film.
Knocked Up owed much of its positive reception to its brutal honesty about sex, love, and all that crap that comes in between. Apatow performed a subtle critique on the inherent disagreements between what men and women want from each other versus what really happens in life (e.g., Debbie’s seemingly ideal yet ultimately disappointing marriage). In dealing with the consequences of their life-altering “accident,” Allison, and even moreso Ben, experience true growth of character. Apatow skillfully manages to send along a message that women are not merely tits, asses, and uteri, and he does so in a way that’s well-timed, rather amusing, and most importantly, respectful of his audience’s intelligence.
On the other hand, The Brothers Solomon only focuses on the ineptitude of Dean and John, who make the guys from A Night at the Roxbury look like motherfucking Rico Suave. When John pulls out a diamond ring and proposes on a first date, and Dean greets his date’s father by planting a kiss on his lips, the women run screaming. Similarly, John is arrested after following random women around a grocery store and then offering to pick up the tab. Obviously, no guy would attempt these feats of lameness, so it’s not even slightly amusing when none of their efforts to get laid actually result in copulation. Come On! The brothers are, so we’re told, good-hearted men, but they treat women like cardboard props and blowup dolls.
When John and Dean accept the fact that no woman will spread her legs for their seed, they look for a surrogate incubator on Craigslist. For $12,000, Janine (Kristen Wiig of “Saturday Night Live”) agrees to carry the coveted Solomon pregnancy to term, which doesn’t go over well with her ex-boyfriend, Angry Black Dude (Chi McBride). The rest of the plot involves Janine’s growing belly and the brother’s excitement as they fill diapers with “surprises” and practice their mad skills … as if they were capable of parenting a child. Obviously, any child raised by these freaks is going to be at a serious disadvantage, and no actual character growth ever comes out of the storyline.
The Brothers Solomon was directed by Bob Odenkirk (Let’s Go to Prison), which is of no actual consequence except that Arnett keeps making the mistake of appearing in Odenkirk’s films. Throughout this entire ordeal, I found myself begging for someone to splice in a magic show to the tune of “The Final Countdown.” Hell, even “Weekend Update” with Jimmy Fallon would have been better than watching Arnett gleefully toss his once promising career into the Diaper Genie. Fans of “Arrested Development” will recall that Arnett and his maniacal grin are capable of achieving critically acclaimed hilarity. He’s something of a budding character actor, and his performances as G.O.B. were believable and effortless. However, Arnett can’t give good character when faced with a script that totally sucks, which brings us back to Forte and the script he surely wrote while on drugs, and not the good kind either. Forte apparently developed these characters for a failed-sitcom plot, and for whatever reason, this materialized into a feature-length film written by the goddamn “Falconer.” Seriously, let’s just forget about Forte. It’s better that his films flop sooner rather than later, lest audiences have to suffer through his version of “Superstar” or “Corky Romano.” Even as part of the “SNL” repertoire, Forte’s very existence proves just how desperate for comedians we are these days.
Agent Bedhead (a.k.a. “Kimberly”) lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and insults Pete Doherty daily at agentbedhead.com.I've Made A Huge Mistake
Film | September 10, 2007 | Comments ()