Movie Mind Says:  Wait for PPV

If You Like This You Should Watch:  Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Better Than:  The Hot Chick
Worse Than:  Anchorman, Blades of Glory

Step Brothers

Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly

The Will Ferrell Era has ended. The days of scene-stealing roles like in Zoolander and Wedding Crashers are merely a fading memory. Even more the case, the cult classic comedies such as Elf and Anchorman delivered with ease under a PG and PG-13 label are a distant image in the rearview mirror. The new Will Ferrell has arrived. Unfortunately, that means the old one will live only in our minds. After this film, The Movie Mind had to hark back to the days of old.

I guess Ferrell gave up on what made his style of comedy so appealing. Instead of relying on his comedic timing, absurd delivery, and over the top characters, he decided to jump into the fray with the brand of comedies that are being delivered today: crude, anything-goes, in your face, and delivered by a bunch of obnoxious young punks. Sometimes those ones actually work. The only problem is Ferrell is a 40-year old man. So he said to hell with it. I’ll just play a character who is a grown-up but acts like he is one of those young punks. That’s about as lazy an excuse as you can get.

Ferrell is Brennan Huff, a 40-year old loser who still lives at home with his mommy and hasn’t had a job in about 20 years. When his mom Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) falls in love with Dr. Doback (Richard Jenkins), she learns about Dale (Johnny C.), his 40-year old overgrown appendage that has not left home either. The writers are not shy about getting the plotline out of the way so the “hilarity” can ensue. They wrap up the entire background in all of 4 minutes just so we get that many more insults, fights, long drawn out farts (one of the few parts I actually laughed at) and derogatory insults hurled at one another from the Talladega Nights tandem. Of course let’s not forget about the most egregious male nudity since Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We were all treated to a pair of Will Ferrell’s balls, albeit fake ones, for a solid 30 seconds. Anyone that was actually amused by this scene must not have seen There’s Something About Mary. Once again, the lack of originality was appalling. They ripped off jokes, lines, scenes, and styles from prior films. It’s as if Ferrell rolled up all of his pent-up raunchiness he couldn’t use in other characters and let it fly here.

I’m officially writing off Will Ferrell. As far as Johnny C. goes, I just think he is more than happy to go along for the ride and paycheck. He strikes me as a Will Ferrell-Light…just one calorie, not Ferrell enough. While these two think they are the best thing to grace our comedy minds in the last century, they have gotten old really quickly. They are not Farley and Spade, nor Wilson and Stiller, or even some other modest tandems. While the only “premise” of this film harps around these two grown men being sell-outs for never having, or wanting, a “real” job, it serves as more of a portrait of  Ferrell selling out on his own style than anything else.

Some people are coming out and claiming that this was Ferrell’s best movie in a few years. Reviews like that will only encourage him to make more like it. The Movie Mind is hoping he ignores those pleas and goes back to what made us appreciate him in the first place. While I may have been a little harsh on his past movies like Blades of Glory or Semi-Pro, Ferrell’s performances and movies keep going in the wrong direction. It won’t be long before I write him off altogether.
Submitted 8-3-08

Memorable Quotes:
Dale Doback: You have the voice of an angel. I mean, it’s like Fergie meets Jesus.

Brennan Huff: I have a belly full of white dog crap, and now you lay this sh*t on me?

Brennan Huff: Shut your mouth. Sh-sh-shut your mouth.

Brennan Huff: I’ve come five hundred miles to deliver my seed.

Brennan Huff: I tea-bagged your drum set!

Brennan Huff: You better not close your eyes because as soon as you do I’m gonna punch you in the face!

2 Comments

  1. I dunno man, I think you may be being a bit harsh on Will Ferrell. I’ll give it to you that “Blades of Glory” was awful, but “Semi-Pro” wasn’t completely useless (the bear scene and the gun scene with Tim Meadow’s were hilarious). You didn’t even mention “Stranger Than Fiction”, which is easily Will Ferrell’s most mature role to date.

    This followed the “Talladega Nights” formula to a T, that is to say that it was over the top goofy and more about the punchlines than the story. Granted, “Step Brothers” was no where near as well written, but looked at the same way as “Talladega Nights” it worked well. It seems to me you took it too seriously.

  2. yeah i agree with the harshness. i don’t think you’re getting the great thing behind this movie. minus the language, these guys act like they’re 11 years old and they do a great job at it.

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