I'm choosing to review Step Brothers not because I have anything incredibly insightful to say about it, or that the movie inspired an intense reaction, but because I've given this movie a 4 star rating on Spout and feel like I need to qualify that a little. For those reading this on my Working Dead Productions site, a rating of 4(out of 5) literally means 'I liked it.' And I did. Kinda.
Oh sure, I got my two hours worth of laughs out of it, but in the end, I don't feel that there's really anything to recommend watching the full movie over the trailer. You get the joke in that short 2-3 minute montage of clips. The only joke. Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly are 40 year olds that aren't just man-children, but children whose bodies have become man-sized. There's some funny bits in between, some of it quite hilarious, and seeing Ferrel and Reilly dropping F-bombs at the top of their lungs never really loses it's comedic charm, but in the end, you see the trailer, you see the movie. I never really understood or agreed with critics who call a movie easily forgettable, but I will say that Step Brothers is just that. I'm sitting here trying to remember some of the one-liners from the movie, and I just can't do it. People will probably memorize and quote the movie, although probably not to the extent of Anchorman, but I won't be one of them.
Critics lately have been complaining about Judd Apatow's theme of arrested adolescents finally having to grow up, but I have to admit i still find it enjoyable. Perhaps it's because I count myself as one of that tribe, with my house full of comic books, video games, action figures and movie/music posters. I occasionally feel like I should grow up and start to put this stuff behind me, but then I realize that's just crazy talk. That scene in the 40 Year Old Virgin where Steve Carrell starts packing up his toy collection, it saddens me every time. The scenes in Step Brothers where the two guys just spend their nights watching Steven Segal movies and eating cereal? I wish that was my life. And I know it isn't just me. Just about everyone I know from my generation is going through the same thing. Apatow has struck a nerve with his films, but this one suffers from his more direct input(he produced, but neither wrote nor directed).
Step Brothers is stupid(purposefully so), silly, crass, and lazy. It's like an SNL skit, where it's a pretty funny idea, and then kinda settles and runs out of inertia as you realize you're going to have to wait for them to drag the gag out to movie length before they end it.