John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell are not exactly regular collaborators, but they do make funny films. 2008's Step Brothers is no exception. Featuring the men in new roles as adult step-children of newlyweds, the film allows both to show off their comedic chops (if not their dramatic depths) and places them in several situations that are as funny as they are cringe-worthy. Between a stellar sense of direction, a number of very unique gags and a script that really does call for a second run-through, those who are fans of raunchy comedies or either actor will likely find something to enjoy in the film.
The plot follows the two families in the midst of a merger into one. The complication, in this case, are the titular Step Brothers. Brennan (Will Ferrell) is a forty-something mother's boy and bullied younger brothers, while Dale (John C. Reilly) is similarly aged man-child living with his father. When the parents marry, the two brothers are forced to accept one another as both siblings and roommates. Not only are these two coddled men forced to become something other than the center of their parents' attention, but they are eventually forced to face the challenges of the real world. From their beginning as bitter enemies to their attempts to function in the real world, the two step-brothers experience nothing but comedic antics and shortfalls along the way.
Ferrell and Reilly are certainly the stars, but special credit should go to Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins and Adam Scott as the rest of the family. These supporting characters never quite get the time of the leads, but they bring quite a bit to the table. The movie certainly would not work with less able actors in these roles, and the fact that they maintain such a level of composure and seriousness despite the nature of the plot is a credit to their acting skills.
This collaboration between Ferrell and Reilly is higher on the gross-out quotient than their previous film, but this does have a bit more heart. It has several lines that are incredibly quotable, and many of the gags are actually laugh-out-loud funny. Though there are quite a few adult situations in the film, it does not actually detract from the amount of heart displayed. The movie is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a good laugh, and an unusually fine example for those who enjoy Ferrell's comedies.