Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spare yourselves!

I probably should've known better, but I was actually looking forward to Step Brothers. Not just looking forward to it: I talked my friend Jenn Siegel (she of the plastic bags) into going to see it with me.

It seemed like a funny idea on paper. Will Ferrell and John Reilly play a pair of man-children (a dim-witted version of the schlub) who, in middle age, become stepbrothers and are kicked out of their parents house. It had a funny trailer, and in general Ferrell doesn't have to work too hard to make me chuckle.

In fact, the first frame of the movie made me laugh. "Families," the epigraph of the movie reads, "is where our nation takes hope -- where wings take dream." Under neath it credits the author of these words (George W. Bush) and helpfully adds: "actual quote."

That was the last time I would laugh for the next hour and a half. (The closest I came to laughing was in Seth Rogen's two second cameo.)

Now, I like stupid, pseudo-schlub movies as much as the next guy. But this was just embarrassing. The jokes weren't funny and the vulgarities made me squirm rather than laugh. (I might be alone in this opinion -- there was raucous laughter in the theater where I saw it. But I still think I'm right.) The plot could have been written by a chimp with a screenwriting program, and I was bored silly by the end.

But the big problem, ultimately, was not that the jokes were bad or that the plot was predictable. I think I might have been more inclined to laugh if the characters were likable. They weren't schlubby ne'er do wells. Or guys who burned with secret longings and talents. (Will Ferrell supposedly has a talent, but you never believe that it's a real obsession -- merely a sop to "character development".)

They were just morons. Stay away.