Brennan Huff, a sporadically employed thirty-nine-year-old who lives with his mother, Nancy. Dale Doback, a terminally unemployed forty-year-old who lives with his father, Robert. When Robert and Nancy marry and move in together, Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other as step brothers. As their narcissism and downright aggressive laziness threaten to tear the family apart, these two middle-aged, immature, overgrown boys will orchestrate an insane, elaborate plan to bring their parents back together. To pull it off, they must form an unlikely bond that maybe, just maybe, will finally get them out of the house.
Crude, juvenile, and proud of it, Step Brothers stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as two 40-year-old men, both living at home and leading the lives of 13-year-old boys, who are thrown together when their single parents (Mary Steenburgen, Parenthood, and Richard Jenkins, Six Feet Under) get married. Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly) start out hating each other as only teenage boys can–but things get even worse for their long-suffering parents when they become best friends. Step Brothers gets most of its mileage from very lowbrow humor, but hidden among the farts and masturbation jokes is the suggestion that while these guys may be emotionally arrested, so are Brennan’s hotshot business executive brother (Adam Scott, Tell Me You Love Me) and his high-fiving frat-boy pals, just in a way that’s condoned because it makes money. Also crucial is that Ferrell and Reilly capture adolescence in all its gruesome glory–the awkward insecurity but also the egomaniacal, arrogant self-centeredness. Mind you, this isn’t the American version of The 400 Blows or anything–one of the movie’s setpieces features Brennan tea-bagging Dale’s drum set (and if you don’t know what tea-bagging is… well, you will after seeing this movie). All in all, Step Brothers combines the adolescent humor of producer Judd Apatow (Superbad, Knocked Up) and the comic chemistry of Ferrell and Reilly (who previously costarred in Talladega Nights)–fans of either will find plenty to enjoy. —Bret Fetzer
Stills from Step Brothers (click for larger image)