Ferrell and Reilly’s ‘Step Brothers’ full of laughs

Published On:
Monday, July 28, 2008
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When people ask me my favorite comedy is, I always respond enthusiastically, “Dumb and Dumber.”

Most guys smile and give gracious approval or an occasional high five.
Most women roll their eyes and then shake their heads at me with slight — but also very real — disgust.

Yes, I know, I know.

But let’s face it.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly were at their peak of their comedic powers and provided a perfect vehicle for Jim Carrey’s funniest performance.

But the film worked because of the chemistry between Carrey and his co-star Jeff Daniels, who both struck a hilarious and sophomoric chord with millions of fans of comedy.

Fourteen years later, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly reach the same funny bone in the sidesplitting comedy, “Step Brothers.”

When single dad Dr. Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins) falls in love with and marries single mom Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen), it rocks the worlds of Robert’s son, Dale (Reilly), and Nancy’s son, Brennan (Ferrell).

Since the 39 and 40-year-old “kids” still live at home with their respective parents, they all decide to move in together to form one big “happy” family under one roof.

It’s lucky for the audience, as we are treated to the hysterical results.

Still dependent upon Mom and Dad, Dale and Brennan’s emotional maturity hasn’t reached very far past the age of 12 as they concern themselves more with watching “Shark Week” on television, hanging out in a tree house and making bunk beds than getting a job or acting responsible in any way, shape or form.

Ferrell and Reilly deliver laughs at a machine gun pace throughout the picture as they simply act like kids, spit profanity at a drop of a hat and fight over space in their room.

The film only runs about one hour and 35 minutes, and with the laughs hitting us so fast and so often, their adolescent act does not get old.

Steenburgen isn’t given too much to do but plays the loving mother just fine; however, Jenkins gets to mix it up as a disciplinarian.

Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn are welcomed supporting players as Brennan’s brother Derek and his wife Alice.

Hahn, in particular, generated some of the funniest scenes as Derek’s lonely wife.

Ferrell’s last film, “Semi-Pro” missed badly, mainly due to a lack of any cohesive story.

But writer and director Adam McKay truly brought a terrific comedy to the screen and, not unlike Carrey in “Dumb and Dumber,” this could be Ferrell’s best comedic performance.

But the film wouldn’t have worked without his co-star Reilly, who is his comedic equal here.

It’s not as strong as Carrey and Daniels’s movie, but is still wonderful in its dumb-act brilliance.

And although Ferrell and Reilly act like kids, because of the adult themes and language the film is rated R for a reason.

Lucky for us.

Reach the reporter at: jeffrey.mitchell@asu.edu.