Truth: Step Brothers may be the stupidest fucking movie I have ever seen. I am talking Cosmic Level 5, brained in the neck stem by Chuck Norris stupid. It’s a labiatic explosion of thick-wittedness. A four cock-ring circus of dumb. A broken, jagged-glass whiskey-bottle to-the-junk brand of idiocy. I honestly have no idea how two people could sit down and come up with a movie this goddamn moronic without a strong influence of industrial strength solvents and repeated blows to the back of the head. It’s dumber than a bag of dirt hammers thrown into a box of rocks. Dumber than the pool of urine keeping Paris Hilton’s brain afloat. Dumber than horse ejaculate. Dumber than light-socket fucking.
There is a scene, no lie, in which Will Ferrell removes his bag of hairy testicles and rubs it on a drum set. Repeatedly. In a fight scene, Ferrell uses a bicycle as a weapon. In another, grade schoolers push Ferrell’s head to ground and make him lick albino dog shit. Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen use more profanity in a single movie than they have in their entire careers. And none of it makes a lick of goddamn sense. Horatio Sanz is the lead singer of a cover band that sings exclusively late-80s Billy Joel?! John C. Reilly wreaks irreparable harm on entire career of sometimes brilliant character acting. Will Ferrell plumbs the depths of his dumbassery and reaches so far into his adolescence that he could tickle his mother’s uterus. There are pebbles of retarded shart with more brain cells than Step Brothers.
And yet there were moments in Step Brothers so sublimely inane, so unrelentingly ridiculous, and so incongruous with how 40 year olds (even 40 year olds played by Will Ferrell) should act that it’s impossible not to laugh. In fact, for the first 20 minutes or so, I was convinced Step Brothers might finally be the rightful successor to Anchorman, a movie so mired in silliness that you can’t help but give into it. And when the step-sister in-law of John C. Reilly’s character says to him, “I just want to roll you up in a little ball and stick you in my vagina,” I thought I’d died and gone to a magical land of smelly pirate hookers and ovary punching.
Unfortunately, after another half hour of watching Reilly and Ferrell basically exchange grosser than gross jokes, hurl various permutations of “hairy balls” and “douchehead” at one another, and fuck up their lives to the point of tediousness, it all got a little tired, like a turd covered in burnt hair, or Bigfoot’s dick. Once you take it to a certain point, it just goes flat, like sticking the big crescendo in between the first and second verses. The talking belly button ran its course, and there was still 45 minutes of movie remaining. Helloooooooooo.
In Step Brothers, Robert (Jenkins) and Nancy (Huff) hit it off at some convention or another, bonding over the shared misery of having 40-year-old children still living at home, stuck in a state of adolescence that’d make Frank the Tank look like a model son, a bastion of maturity. They marry, forcing their sons, Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly) to share the same bedroom. They, of course, loathe one another; at one point in bed, Dale tells Brennan that the only reason he’s allowed to stay in their home is so that Dale and his father can take turns fucking his mother. Brennan, in turns, rubs his testicles on Dale’s drum set, and then they try to brain one another to death.
They ultimately bond over their shared love of John Stamos and their hatred of Brennan’s younger brother, a dipshit wankerstick who scarred Brennan for life in a high school talent competition when he convinced the choir accompanying Brennan’s performances to change the chorus to “Mangina.” Ugh. Anyway, Brennan and Dale’s parents force them to get jobs, they fuck that up, spew some more (sometimes creative) profanities, and everything falls, expectedly, into its conventional comedic formula.
Still, Step Brothers works, at times, because it takes the Apatow’s man-child to its literal extreme and amps it up with the occasional “Damn it feels good to be a gangsta” fake geeky bravura. But in between the gags that do work, the movie has all the zip of sour mayo in day-old cole slaw as it tries to push the narrative forward. Like the better Ferrell movies, this one was co-written and directed by Adam McKay, who is a lot more responsible for Ferrell’s comedic success than the producer, Judd Apatow. Indeed, Adam McKay may be the not-talked-about link between Apatow’s brand of comedy and Adam Sandler’s. Step Brothers, like Talladega Nights fits snugly right in between their two oeuvres — it’s still one joke ran into the ground, but at least they get to spice up that one joke with some R-rated off-the-wall profanity and a variety of situations.
But then again, if you disdain Apatow as much as you do Sandler, there’s nothing here for you unless, of course, Will Ferrell’s testicles dampen your undies.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife and son in Portland, Maine. Please leave a comment or send an email."I Just Wanna Roll You Up And Put You in My Vagina"
Film | July 25, 2008 | Comments ()