There’s little doubt that Step Brothers, the third collaboration between director Adam McKay and star Will Ferrell, instantly establishes itself as a far more comedic and flat-out entertaining piece of work than predecessors Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, as the movie has been infused with an unapologetically broad, gleefully silly sensibility that ultimately proves impossible to resist. The exceedingly thin storyline – which details the rivalry that ensues between two grown men (Ferrell’s Brennan and John C. Reilly’s Dale) after their parents marry and move in together – is primarily used as a clothesline for a series of increasingly zany interludes, with the majority of such initially revolving around Brennan and Dale’s mean-spirited pranks on one another (ie Brennan attempts to bury Dale alive). And while there’s little doubt that Ferrell and Reilly’s gleefully absurd work plays a significant role in the movie’s success, it’s just as clear that the unusually strong supporting cast – which includes, among others, Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen, and Adam Scott – effectively sets Step Brothers apart from the majority of its Ferrell-centric brethren. Having said that, the film does suffer from a loss of momentum as it approaches the one-hour mark – with the inclusion of a few eye-rolling predictable and downright melodramatic elements (ie two fake break-ups) certainly proving a test to one’s patience. Still, it’s impossible to deny that Step Brothers primarily comes off as an agreeable (if almost relentlessly ridiculous) endeavor whose unexpectedly high joke-to-laugh ratio buoys it through its overtly ineffective stretches.
*** out of ****