Step Brothers (Movie Review)


This Adam McKay directed comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly falls short of everything it tries to do. This movie, which is available on Netflix, falters at laughs and anything else it sets out to do. The two leading actors disappoint with childish and lousy acting and over-the-top joke deliverance. The screenplay is old, tired, and poorly gag based; the story was incredibly predictable and fairly cringe-inducing with characters that are thin and predictable yet somehow extremely dislikeable. Adam Scott, who plays Ferrell’s brother, sticks out like a sore thumb as the only truly well-performing cast member and is one of the very few reasons this film is worth considering to watch.

            John C. Reilly is a good actor—normally—who’s played a fair amount of notable roles and earned himself an Oscar nomination from his work in Chicago, but none of that is evident in this uncomfortably childish portrayal of ½ of the step brother duo. The other half is Will Ferrell whose character is mildly more likeable than Reilly’s, but who still falls short of making the audience feel for him or even laugh at his jokes. Their onscreen chemistry is absolutely non-existent as they stumble through a large array of different relationship-statuses that are awkwardly and unevenly paced and seem horribly inhuman. Playing their parents are Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins who also do not have any onscreen chemistry with each other or with Ferrell and Reilly. Much like the two step brothers, Jenkins and Steenburgen have an awkwardly paced and very unnatural relationship development which makes you feel as if you’ve missed something. Adam Scott plays Ferrell’s much more successful brother with a company and family. Scott’s character is not only the funniest, but also the only interesting character to watch and hate. Scott’s onscreen wife, played by Kathryn Hahn, was the worst and most dislikable of the cast even though she had a fairly miniscule screen time.

            The jokes were tired and the gags were lousy, so there is not a great deal of compliments to pay the screenwriting team of Ferrell and McKay. The direction is over-the-top and uncomfortably unnatural and over-exaggerated. Uncomfortably over-exaggerated. There aren’t really a lot of compliments for me to pay in this movie, anywhere. There is a wonderful accapella song pretty early on in the film, led by Scott, that was enjoyable to watch and a pretty interesting song sung by Ferrell as one of the last scenes with Reilly on the drums. It was a little sad that Ferrell sang the song at the end rather than having Reilley do it as Reilley has a more proven track record in the musical genre, but it was a decent presentation.

            Not a lot of compliments anywhere. Childish and cheap comedic gags all over the place with a weirdly paced script and characters and no real substance. Adam Scott served a very good portrayal and performance that made up for some of the defects of the film, but not for all. The songs were the only parts that were worth watching.


Worst Aspect- Drum set gag

Best Aspect- Everything Adam Scott

Rating- 1.8/10 or F


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