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For ‘Stepbrothers,’ jokes run thinner than Will Ferrell’s recent movie hits

Before the release of his latest film, Will Ferrell was in desperate need of a redeeming step forward. With a credit list that includes an all too common style of over-glorified poop-humor, the perception of what we now know as a Will Ferrell comedy has gradually fallen to the chambers of pointless fluff. By re-teaming with writing partner Adam McKay (director of “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman”), Ferrell attempts to put the right foot forward with a film called “Step Brothers.”

Before you even consider the purpose of Ferrell in this film, the premise alone consists of a perception that goes far beyond the finalized product. As a story about two spoiled boys meeting with bitter sentiment after the marriage of their parents, you may have already formed a vision of the film. If you guessed that two 10-year-old child stars would be playing the parts of the main characters, your answer would have been dead wrong. In the eyes of Ferrell and McKay, the answer to have two grown men play the roles of the conflicting brothers was the entire case and point. As the simple premise of the film centers around the immaturity of the two brothers, the jokes of the film quickly run extremely thin.

It is because of films like “Step Brothers” that we can sadly see the classic viral video featuring McKay’s adorable toddler, Pearl, as an angry landlord sooner or later making its way to a full-length feature. “Step Brothers” could have just as easily been divided into short skits to be showcased over a period of time on Ferrell’s Web site or even SNL. With trends like this, Ferrell has found it to be forever impossible to separate himself from the inevitable image he has created on his previous work. Thankfully for Ferrell, John C. Reilly enters with a similarly eager but skewered perception of humor. Even though they essentially play the same type of character, Ferrell and Reilly have a dynamic that is admirable even if it is disturbingly absurd.

There are only a few moments of “Step Brothers” that seem relevant for global consumption. Having Judd Apatow’s name on the credits list as an executive producer is a misguided tease. If you enjoy the company of immature and foul-mouthed preteens, you’ll certainly fit right in with the characters and humor of “Step Brothers.” You may even become one of the wrongfully assumed target audiences for these types of films. Even though this film may be a minuscule step in the right direction for Ferrell, there isn’t even an ounce of intrigue to see what he’ll come up with next.

‘STEP BROTHERS’

GRADE: C-

RATED: R for crude and sexual content and pervasive language

STARRING: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Mary Steenburgen

DIRECTOR: Adam McKay

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