always wanted a step-brother. Mostly because it would have meant
that my parents had gotten a divorce. Not that I thought my
parents were a bad match or anything. Actually, I thought they
were perfect for each other. I wanted them to split so I could
divide and conquer. I'd tell my dad while spending the weekend
at his tiny basement apartment that Mom let me look through
her porn, so he should too. I'd convince my mom that Dad really
thought I wasn't drinking enough. And I'd trick them both into
giving me go-karts out of the Sears catalog for Christmas, so
I could smash them into each other.
those fantasies around age 18. That's when they tossed me out
and I realized I didn't want them divorce because, if they did,
I'd lose storage space for all my shit. The movie Step Brothers
is about older pseudo-siblings than I was. Will Ferrell and
john C. Reilly are both about 40. Why they are still at home
isn't completely clear, but let's just say they're fuckups treading
in a sea of retarded adolescence.
I have a
soft spot for fuckups. We're the lifeblood of society. We're
the sponges that absorb all the extra output of our economy,
all the unsold girlie magazines, all the hot dogs that have
been on the rollers at 7-11 for days. Without us, most people
would have nothing to compare their own accomplishments to.
Plus, if all of us fuckups disappeared, others who are currently
productive and useful members of society would slack off and
fill the void. There, but for the grace of me, go you.
Brothers is funny, it's very very funny. When it is bad,
it is fucking dreadful. The split is about 2/3 funny and 1/3
nearly unwatchable, with the last half hour being the dogshit
on the shoe of moviegoing. When Ferrell and Reilly's single
parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) decide to marry,
the two still-at-home adult kids are forced to move into the
same bedroom, which hasn't been remodeled since Reilly was about
Reilly and Ferrell, their lives have never advanced beyond the
stage of looking at Hustler Magazines in a treehouse. I know,
I know, that sounds like a pretty sweet life. It's not, though.
At some point, every man must grow up, move out on his own,
and find the independence that allows him to look at Hustler's
any time he wants, wherever he wants, can order pay-per-view
and take dumps in neighbor's planters without being told on.
keeps a drum set in the spare bedroom. Ferrell was recently
canned from the Petco. Their dream for financial freedom revolves
around sketchy dreams, like the idea to make an entertainment
company called Prestige Worldwide that features Ferrell singing,
Reilly drumming, and both of them rapping a song titled "Boats
and Whores". It's the kind of thing kids, and the Harelip, concoct:
that somehow some set of skills known only to them--and not
hard work and education--are their key to riches and wealth.
Neither has ever had a serious relationship, a real job, or
anyone to kick them in the ass when they needed it. Reilly appears
to be a virgin.
they hate each other at first. The first half hour of Step
Brothers is mostly a montage of them throwing tantrums and
threatening to beat the shit out of each other. In the second
half hour, the two finally discover they are much more alike
than different, and become friends. This second third of the
movie is almost as funny as the first. The brothers interview
for jobs--losing one chance due to a seriously long and toxic
fart--and build a shifty bunk bed out of two regular bedframes.
The final third of the movie is where it just stops, drops its
pants and takes a dump on the screen.
Jenkin's boat during the making of the "Boats and Hos" video,
the brother put a strain on their parents and force a divorce.
All of the sudden, the movie stops being funny and does a sloppy-ass
job of trying to resolve all its plot points so that everyone
is happy. Reilly and Ferrell fight and decide they hate each
other, move out on their own, take real jobs, grow up, are unhappy
and have to rely on each other to succeed and rediscover their
it happens is pure pig slop, with plot points as lame and unfunny
as when a late-80s Billy Joel cover band gets into a fight because
someone asks them to play an early 80s song. After so much good
comedy, the movie devolves to gags that belabored and unfunny.
It's clear that about one tenth of the effort put into the gags
is put into making the ending satisfying. I'm not saying it
needs to be believable. I'm saying it should be funny. It's
not. It's just sad to watch how lazy director Adam McKay and
his writers are in getting to the finish line.
this thing petered out reminded me of the time I decided to
run the Harvest Festival 2K Fun Run, and to win it. I'm not
a runner by nature, so I compensated by consuming 14 Monster
Energy drinks that morning. And for one-and-a-half kilometers,
I was way ahead. Granted, I signed up for the 70-and-over age
group, but I was still kicking those old people's asses. But
with the finish line almost within reach, I discovered I was
out of gas. Not out of puke, mind you, because I threw up once
for every can of that sticky shit I drank. I had what it took
to make it most of the way, but the ending disappointed not
only me, but all the spectators who got spewed on. It was then
that I realized I should never start things I can't finish well.
So, I don't start things anymore.
Brothers could be a satire of extended adolescence, how
kids stay with their parents longer, and how some fucking weirdos
collect action figures and remain virgins well into mid-life.
It could be, and occasionally it hints that maybe somebody involved
in making the movie considered this. It could be about the different
ways people raise children too, and how it screws them up. Steenburgen
molllycoddles the kids while Jenkins tries to give them tough
love. It does neither of these. And that's pretty damn okay
with me when the jokes are funny. But when the movie changes
its mind and makes us slog through that shitty half hour of
phony feel good bullshit, well fuck 'em.
to tell Filthy Something?