Will Ferrell and John C Reilly have done it again. They've taken an impossibly bad idea and made it considerably worse. You can almost imagine the two of them putting the script together, sitting at a cozy table in their big Hollywood homes, heaving into brown paper bags labeled 'scene 1' and 'scene 5.' The bags would then be ironed, pressed and photographed – the final step in their creative process as the steamed images are run through a paper shredder and the scraps used as the movies dialogue. Lines like "I have a belly full of white dog crap, and now you lay this shit on me?" come from this tried and tested method. Words escape me.
"Talladega Nights" and "Anchorman" are like two blooms in a winter storm compared with Stepbrothers. It's lazy, preordered, prepackaged scraps of Ferrell's obsession to make the world a stupid place to live in. What if, they would ask themselves, there was a stupid race driver or a stupid television host? These are his brilliant story lines. Well I'll be damned if I'm going to play into his sick little game. For your viewing pleasure, here are two 40 year old children pretending to be two 40 year old children. Stepbrothers could very well be an autobiography. Perhaps it was time for Ferrell to ask "What if there was a stupid man like me?"
So the story goes like this – Dale (Reilly) and Brennan (Ferrell) become stepbrothers after their mom and dad fall in love and tie the knot. They act like a pair of McCauley Culkin clones from the "Home Alone" movies and look like two second grade shop class teachers. Hence comes the bits of defiled screenwriting, a series of illogical scenes and ramblings on in their favored 'fart joke' humor. By the end of the movie I just didn't have the physical energy to hate them anymore.
Some highlights of the movie were a Children of the Corn meets Bon Jovi on crack sing-along between TJ (Jason Davis), his wife and two creepy looking vertebrates from the loins of an evil power who imitate children. I can't begin to imagine Will Ferrell's torment if he sees kids as evil and adults as kids. Are we all evil? Or are we all adults? It puts the world in a new perspective. Suddenly I understand why Ferrell makes trash like this. He truly believes his comedy helps us. In a world where Ferrell and Adam McKay make movies everyone would be unemployed, overweight minstrels singing about the happy, happy times we can all have in our proverbial tree houses. It would mean the end of civilization as we know it.
By the time Dale and Brennan were sleepwalking I began to shield my eyes from the dull throb beginning on my temples. They screamed and shouted, flailing their arms and breaking things. I was momentarily stuck in a montage of Nanny 911 reruns, choice dance scenes from High School Musical and angry chimpanzees on National Geographic. Bizarre doesn't begin to describe it.
When Will Ferrell tried to sing like Andrea Bochelli at the end of the movie, I was pleased to notice I wasn't the only confused face in the theater. So desperate was I to expel the memory of the incident from my mind I prayed for a large dose of Alzheimer's to end the pain. If slapstick comedy that doesn't produce laughs is your thing then this may be the greatest, most inspired movie of your life.
To spread the word about this Step Brothers review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.