Will Preston

Sibling rivalry never grows old

by on Oct.05, 2010, under Films, Review

I feel really sorry for Will Ferrell. Sure, he’s releasing new movies every year at least to an audience that are always willing to see, and the guy is genuinely funny at times; but every film will always be compared to Anchorman. And every film after his outing as Ron Burgandy has always missed the top story section and been put back a few stories. John C. Reilly, however, has been popping up a lot more in these kind of movies. After seeing the slightly below average Taladega Nights, you could see that they could bounce off each other. It was really sweet to be blunt. Obviously, the next step would be to make them brothers. STEP brothers.

No time for a crafty shuffle...

This title eluded me at first as trying to find a mainstream American comedy feature is like fishing in a barrel…for a lobster. After many recommendations it was added to my LoveFilm list and arrived the other day. I wasn’t expecting it to topple Anchorman, but you never know. After diving head first into the premise we’re introduced to almost all the characters in the space of a 3 minute montage. Ferrell is a Fourty ish layabout who still lives with his mother, has no job, eats junk food and acts like a general slob. Meanwhile,  John C. Reilly is a Fourty ish layabout who still lives with his father, has no job, eats junk food and acts like a general slob. Both parents meet at a conference and instantly fall in love, leading to marriage and pairing the two man-children as brothers. STEP brothers.

I was thankful that this was restricted to just a film and not packaged off as a one joke sitcom that would have been dragged across various seasons until we’re all back to beating each other with sticks. But thankfully it’s just the one film. More than an hour and half of this would just be overkill for a pretty simple premise. Anyway, not only do the two brothers take a disliking to each other, they are also now living in one big house with their parents. Thus humour commences!

It’s basically a slapstick montage of one disagreeing with the other one and then finding creative ways of torturing the other. Sometimes, this was funny, other times it came off as a bit much. Reilly’s character has a precious drum set that no one must ever touch but him. The temptation from Ferrell is too much. Too much, that as an act of defiance against his slobby sibling he rubs his testicles over the drum set. This was a clear example of a joke being taken too far. You could have cut with Will running off exclaiming “I’m gonna rub my balls on your drum kit” and that would be fine! The mention of such an act is funny enough to fuel your brain into thinking about a man rubbing his balls on a drum kit out of revenge. But instead of the idea of a man rubbing his balls on a  drum kit, we really got a man rubbing his balls on a drum kit. Yes, they were fake testicles (not bad, Mr Ferrell, if they were yours!), but we didn’t need to see them. Once the danglies are out, the joke goes flaccid and floppy.

There's also a film quota for Bullet Time

There were some other moments that put a spanner in a good line of funny jokes and situations that were of similar calibre. It’s almost like all mainstream comedies have to fill a quota of gross out material before they receive a budget. What you see Ferrell for is not predictable scatological humour, but for his improvisational skills. And he does deliver well in places. The banter between the two step brothers played out superbly  as expected. Two of the funniest moments included Will’s awkward handshake his new step father. Like a frightened boy he raises a shy hand, only to raise another arm as a way of wanting a hug before aborting the entire engagement and toddling off like a small child. It funny in an innocent and cute way.

The sleep walking scenes raised a smile as well. At one point of the movie, however, I almost tore my eyes out. The younger, and more successful, brother of Ferrell comes over to rub his big successful crotch in his siblings face, but we are ‘treated’ to a cringing family sing along of Sweet Child O’ Mine (Possibly in the top 5 most overplayed songs next to Bohemian Rhapsody and Don’t Stop Believing). It almost made me hit eject and go have a cry in the shower.

The last half hour of the film really drops the ball and loses its sense of direction, leading to an ending that feels like someone else took over and quickly bashed out a textbook ending with not many jokes, but plenty of weeping sentimentality. In the first half of the film, I was convinced that this was coming extremely close to Anchorman, but in the end, about 60% of the movie is worth watching. If you need your Ferrell fix before The Other Guys, I would recommend this one for a rent.

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