If you've been ticking off the days, in the lead up to the release of 'Step Brothers'... stop. It's no 'Anchorman'. Ridiculous and funny, just not ridiculously funny.
As the title infers, Ferrell (Brennan) and Reilly (Dale) play two middle-aged, home-living, Baby-Men who, reluctantly, become step brothers when their pre-retirement parents get hitched. At first the two clash in an amusing fashion, but much life-threatening play acting later they become pals. Naturally the newlyweds are anxious for them to move on, and out, but it's easier said than done.
After 'Anchorman', 'Talladega Nights' was the second film from the 'Saturday Night Live' coupling of Ferrell and director and co-writer McKay. However, despite the big budget and box-office, the film was a disappointing follow-up to Ron Burgundy's lunacy. But 'Talladega…' still provided the unlikely-yet-perfect pairing of 'Magnolia's Reilly with 'Old School's Ferrell, and for that fans are grateful.
Once again the highlight is Ferrell and Reilly, as they bounce off each other's blustering idiocy, scene after scene. Following the fratpacker-created movie genre ('Semi-Pro', 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story', '40-Year-Old Virgin', 'Old School'), some of the best scenes involve teenage outbursts, exaggerated enough to make Harry Enfield's 'Kevin and Perry' proud. Highs include sleepwalking scenes, jokes about 'Shark Week' and some of the funniest screen kisses on the go.
Reilly is the cocky, antagonistic one versus Ferrell's puppy-dog pampered mummy's boy. The anti-heroes manage the impossible when they make their - could-be - obnoxious characters likeable. However, when unsupported by the film's mundane premise, they and the plot fall.
Not even talented actors Steenbergen and Jenkins, who play the parents, can buy into or sell the outrageous concept. It's just not credible that people would put up with the behaviour of Brennan and Dale for so long. Before long, it becomes far-fetched, uncomfortable even, as you watch two middle-aged men living at home with aging parents.
'Step Brothers' is another absurdist platform for the perfect pairing of Ferrell and Reilly, albeit an unworthy one.