Running Time: 98 mins
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (coarse language, nudity and sexual references)
This is a Will Ferrell comedy so that you know what you are in for when you buy your ticket. If you don't like it or find some of the crass jokes too crude, you will know to leave Will Ferrell comedies alone.
Even though many of the jokes and routines are childish, corny, bodily-function-oriented (with few inhibitions about naming body parts), many of the jokes can be very funny and Ferrell at his best and John C. Reilly who is good at both serious roles and comedy (they clicked well in Talladega Nights) are good comedy performers. Blades of Glory was very funny.
However, the premise of Step-Brothers, while funny in itself, is a risky undertaking.
These days we are used to the phrase, especially from the American television series, 'Arrested Development'. The problem is: when did the development become arrested, at what age and at what stage of mature growth. The two step-brothers here are certainly ultra-arrested but, one suspects, there has been minimal development. Though they are both 40ish, they haven't left home, have never really had a job and their behaviour veers from that of a 6 year old to that of a 13 year old (at their worst!). While the stars do their utmost (crass and not-crass), such behaviour is so childish that it is too often too stupid rather than funny. The film is like a collection of sketches of dopey doings.
On the other hand, Mary Steenburgen and, especially, Richard Jenkins, veterans of many films and television shows who are very good actors prove themselves to be very good sports here for taking the role of the parents who fall in love and marry and inherit the other's son. Adam Scott is also convincing as Ferrell's smarmy younger brother.
Ferrell devotees will want to see it and gauge its place in the hierarchy of his comedies. Sensitive viewers check in your sensibilities at theticket office.
Sony PicturesOut September 18
Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.