The Reel Deal


If your singing voice was described as a cross between Fergie and Jesus, would you let one humiliating moment caused by a younger sibling during a pirate musical get you down?

If so, you will probably sympathize with Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell), who let that single act destroy his promising singing career and now he is a 39-year-old child-man who lives with his single mother in the new comedy "Step Brothers."

He thought getting laid-off from his job at PetSmart was bad, but he doesn’t realize his life is about to get worse.

When his mother (Mary Steenburgen) meets, falls in love with, and marries widower Dr. Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins), he meets his twin in everything but looks (and blood).

Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) is a terminally unemployed 40-year-old who still lives with the good doctor. His time is spent between playing Guitar Hero, looking at nude magazines and polishing up his priceless drum set.

An instant dislike is formed when Dale and Brennan finally meet. They compete for the adult’s attention, physically fight each other, and make the other cry with their cutting insults (and some are terrific one-liners that can’t be repeated in a newspaper).

Their in-fighting causes marital strife between the newlyweds, and things soon turn ugly when Dale accuses Brennan of touching his drum set. To spite him, Brennan does something so completely revolting (also can’t be repeated in a newspaper), but it’s possibly the funniest thing that happens in the movie.

After that situation, the step brothers pretend the other doesn’t exist, and that seems to suit them just fine. That is, until Derek (the younger sibling from the opening paragraph played by Adam Scott) comes to town and they unite in their mutual hatred of the rich, "pompous jerk."

I was especially fond of their bonding rituals, which includes sword fighting, playing with night-vision goggles and kicking pumpkins in half.  However, their new friendship is tested when the Doctor gives them an ultimatum to either get a job and move out, or get kicked out within a month.

Even though I adore Will Ferrell, these last few movies he has put out have really stunk. I don’t know if it’s the surrounding cast, unfunny scripts, him playing the same doofus the entire time, or a combination of all of them, but they haven’t been too enjoyable.

I can’t say the same for "Step Brothers" though. It could be because his screen time is split in half with John C. Reilly, or the fact that they improvised most of those insult gems, but I found myself liking this movie, much to my surprise. I thought it would just be another one of those unfunny comedies where the only laughs come from gross moments, and it is to an extent, but it works.

I gave this film a B-.

Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer

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