Jul 26, 2008

Step Brothers is Meta

I hate Summer movies. But what better thing to do on a sticky day than watch a silly Will Ferrell vehicle?
I was not swayed by the humorless review the otherwise estimable Manohla (I love the spelling) Dargis gave it. It seems to me that Ms. Dargis missed the point. I too, am a bit tired of the immature man genre. I agree with Miss Dargis that it is starting to get boring and stale. However, Step Brothers seems to me to be a parody of the genre. These guys are so Meta! And as opposed to the almost cloying man-sweetness beneath Mr. Apatow's oeuvre, Step Brothers is slightly darker and willing to go to slightly more uncomfortable places (like Americans in general stop being such pop culture retards or hitting children in their little nuts and showing them for the brutal tyrants they can be). Step Brothers is the story of two 40 year old men who behave like 5 year olds. The premise is funny because they are still living at home with their parents, the very sporting and wonderful Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins, who proves to be surprisingly adept at comedy. Of course there is too much gross out humor but there are also very funny digs at the state of affairs of the American man-child today and very funny skewering of the kinds of things that obsess the minds of nerds. John C. Reilly is a perfect buddy for Ferrell, and I like to remember that I saw him shine on Broadway in True West, a Sam Shepard play, and that before he started hitting it big with silly comedies, he was a damn fine actor. And still is. Truly sweet, even when he is super mean.
Yes, Step Brothers doesn't come close to the levels of genius of Talladega Nights, which if you must know is one of my all time favorites, or Blades of Glory, which I found a total hoot, or Anchorman, which is the eminence grise of the Ferrell canon, but it's funny enough.

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