Movie #26 2023: Step Brothers (2008)

To be honest, it’s kind of more fun when the Oscars are over. It gives me free reign to watch any movie from any year in any genre. The kinds of movies that were never nominated for an Oscar and had no chance of ever being nominated for one. Comedies specifically so rarely get nominations at all, so much so that it was a huge surprise when movies like Bridesmaids and Juno ever even got a look in despite being so strongly loved. Comedies like this one though? Not a hope in hell.

So, with that in mind, it only feels all the more rebellious watching a movie like Step Brothers after watching movies like Tár and Aftersun non-stop for weeks on end. (That’s not a sleight on either of those films by the way: I loved both of them.) Step Brothers though is so far removed from anything I’ve been watching recently. Starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as two 40-year old men who are still living with their parents, it tells the tale of the pair of them being forced to live together and the rifts between them as they learn to be around each other.

But why this movie in particular? Well, it was about time I got round to one of my wife’s favourite films. Yes, one of her favourite films is Step Brothers

Seeing as I have such a soft spot for Anchorman, it’s quite surprising that I’ve not seen this before. Whilst I can’t say it quite hit the mark set by Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy, there are some huge comedic similarities that make it impossible not to compare the two. I will say that this type of absurd comedy isn’t for everyone, but there’s so much going on here that is laugh out loud funny, and the humour is actually much smarter than it appears on the surface. 

As far as talent goes, the biggest surprise here is undoubtedly John C. Reilly. There was a time when Reilly was primarily known for his dramatic performances, appearing in films such as Days of Thunder and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, but there’s no doubt Step Brothers cemented his status as a gifted comedian too. The fact that he keeps up with Ferrell is impressive and how he got through any scene with Kathryn Hahn is absolutely beyond me. He’s a joy to watch, in all honesty.

Blessed with seasoned actors and gifted joke writers, this movie also feels like a well-rounded story despite being rooted in bizarre, off-piste comedy. It all comes full circle by its conclusion, with the script neatly tying off loose ends and summarising everything with a fun, feel good moment. As a complete package, it’s clear that the scriptwriters (one of which was none other than Will Ferrell himself) knew exactly what they were doing. 

It’s definitely not my favourite movie, although I can see why my wife is so fond of it. However, it’s a movie that has clearly built up such a cult following for a reason, and I see now that it is warranted in spite of its often crude vulgarity.

Step Brothers is currently available to stream on Sky Cinema and Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½


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