Saturday, July 26, 2008


Aside from this site, I also sometimes write short movie reviews in the Friday Extra section of the Tampa Tribune here where I live. I have been writing these for about a year now but I never really felt like boasting that, well I'm doing it now. This past week, a couple of my fellow reviews and I got to watch Will Ferrell and John C. Riley's new family comedy, STEP BROTHERS. Written by ANCHORMAN scribe Adam McKay and Ferrell, this is by far their most vulgar comedy yet. Let me start off by copying over my short Tampa Tribune review which you can also find over here at the Tampa Bay Online website.

What I Liked: What’s better than two grown men acting like 10-year-olds? Will Ferrell and John C. Riley acting like 10-year-olds. If you watched the last few Ferrell films and asked yourself where all the funny went, perhaps he was just saving it for this. Writer and Ferrell’s BFF Adam McKay have worked together on such classics as ‘’Anchorman,’’ ‘’Talladega Nights’’ and many ‘’Saturday Night Live’’ sketches.
Now, despite the gratuitous language, they’ve finally made a film that goes back to their roots and resurrects the energy they once had during the days of SNL. I’m sure many people will agree with me, but rather than a Ferrell fan, I’m more of a J.C. Riley one. And he’s always entertaining to watch (’’Walk Hard’’ ).

What I Disliked: There are a few points that people may not find very entertaining about this film. Yes, this is an extremely R-rated film, so please don’t take yours or your neighbor’s children for a fun weekday afternoon movie; I think they may be better off watching ‘’The Dark Knight.’’ Second, if you have in fact enjoyed Ferrell’s last few, like ‘’Semi-Pro,’’ don’t expect this to be quite so massive. ‘’Step Brothers’’ is a simple film about two very simple boys and their parents. Lastly, what really did get to me was the language. I know the writer was trying to express the childishness of these two men, but honestly it seemed a little much. You decide.

Would I Recommend? Though it does feel as if the Ferrell train is losing steam, much like his SNL comrades of the past decades, I think this one extends his half-life at least until he makes another ‘’Bewitched.’’ Perhaps he should take the dramatic route for the next few films if there is anything we can learn from Adam Sandler’s career.
Score: 7 out of 10
- Nizar Babul

After pondering over the film even further and after watching PINEAPPLE EXPRESS last week, I don't think STEP BROTHERS is quite up to the level of comedy of PINEAPPLE but then again, they have always had a different bit of comedy from the "Apatow Gang." Yes, the film is different and slightly better than Ferrell's last few efforts but the shinning star still is John C. Riley, in my opinion. It's not just that Riley is a better overall performer but it's that he brings a certain everydayness to the characters he plays that Ferrell seems to obviously transcend.
For Ferrell, I believe this is a step in a better direction. Personally, I'm sick of him always playing the same damn character. This macho, pompous, self indulged ass who we must sympathize with by the end of the film. I don't always buy it. What I can buy him as is a 40 year-old man-child who still has trouble socializing with people and lives in the shadow of his younger brother. Although the film is less encompassing in its content and message, it is however a better film than his past few.
Another bit I liked about this one were the side and secondary characters. I loved Richard Jenkins in THE VISITOR earlier this year but not so much in this because I felt he brought too much spunk to the father character. Ferrell's younger sister-in-law played by Kathryn Hahn; as over the top as she may seem, really scenes really are among some of the funniest and most of her lines were improvised, kudos. Ferrell's brother in the film, played by Adam Scott also knew how to bring the fun while playing an obnoxious prick.
I say, go check STEP BROTHERS this week in theaters with some friends or a date and let it be the appetizer for the next month and a half of awesome comedy entrees which include PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TROPIC THUNDER, VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA, THE ROCKER and HAMLET 2.