fter the disappointing “Semi-Pro,” Will Ferrell fans can rejoice with his follow-up, “Step Brothers.”
This vulgar (and let’s be honest, pointless) comedy reteaming Ferrell with “Talladega Nights” director Adam McKay and co-star John C. Reilly isn’t going to change the cinematic world - but it does provide audiences with plenty of laughs, something sorely missing from Ferrell’s previous project.
Ferrell and Reilly play Brennan and Dale, a pair of live-at-home 40-something slackers who become step brothers after their parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) get hitched.
At first Brennan and Dale hate each other, but eventually they bond and become best friends. But the good times quickly fade when their parents force Brennan and Dale to either get jobs or leave the house for good.
“Step Brothers” obviously isn’t the most complex screenplay ever written, but Ferrell, McKay and Reilly (who all co-wrote the film) manage to milk plenty of comedy out of essentially a one-joke movie.
Ferrell and Reilly are both perfect in their respective roles and have great chemistry together. While watching “Step Brothers,” I couldn’t help but wonder how much “Semi-Pro” could have benefited if Reilly had been cast in the Woody Harrelson role. There aren’t too many people who can match Ferrell’s off-the-wall antics, but Reilly is more than capable of holding his own.
But they aren’t the only people having a good time here. Steenburgen and Jenkins are such respected actors, it’s almost a shock (yet surprisingly funny) to see both wallow in R-rated humor and deliver dialogue full of vulgarity and foul language.
The film does start to drag in the final act and I’ll admit that this is a comedy that isn’t for everyone. Still, I laughed a lot during “Step Brothers” and I appreciated the effort of everyone involved. I believe most fans of Ferrell and Reilly will leave “Step Brothers” with the same impression.
DVD dandy of the week
In a week where the video options are pretty scarce, this week’s dandy is “Shine a Light” (B), the Rolling Stones concert film directed by Martin Scorsese that is a must for die-hard Stones fans, but still good enough for the casual fan as well.
In “Shine a Light,” Scorsese follows the Stones over a two-day period at the Beacon Theater in New York in the fall of 2006.
The backstage footage, most of which comes early in the film, shows Mick Jagger and the rest of the group doing everything they can to sabotage Scorsese’s direction - much to the dismay of the iconic filmmaker.
But eventually “Light” settles into a standard concert film, with Scorsese expertly capturing the raw energy of the legendary band.
I’m not a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I can appreciate their contribution to modern music. Still, I found myself quite interested and entertained by “Shine a Light.” Jagger, Keith Richards and company are getting up there in age, yet still attack a performance with the gusto of teenagers (something anyone can respect).
I wish the Stones had given Scorsese a little more access, but this is clearly meant to be a concert film - not a documentary that the trailers and opening moments of the film suggest - and from that standpoint “Shine a Light” certainly delivers.
“Shine a Light” is rated PG-13 for brief strong language, drug references and smoking and is now available on DVD.
— Sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton - who spent his childhood giving wedgies to an imaginary stepbrother who just happened to be named Brennan Dale Compton - can be reached by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org