“Step Brothers” – Susan Granger reviews

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Don’t be fooled by expectations emanating from the family-friendly trailers revolving around a collapsing bunk-bed. This is NOT a movie for kids! It’s an R-rated, crude, comedic rumination on contemporary parenting and sibling rivalry.

Among the entitled ‘boomerang generation,’ it’s become accepted practice for grown offspring to return to their homes (a.k.a. womb) and become unemployed couch-potatoes after life deals them a few sobering blows. At least that’s the case with Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly). But when Brennan’s mother Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) meets and marries Dale’s dad Robert (Richard Jenkins), the two paunchy, immature, middle-aged oafs are forced to share a bedroom as slapstick, sadistic chaos reigns.

“Today I saw my own son use a bicycle as a weapon,” marvels ever-patient Nancy.

Then there’s Brennan’s insufferably successful younger brother, Derek (Adam Scott), who brags that he knows “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and does a wicked Tom Cruise imitation, and his repressed wife, Alice (Kathryn Hahn), who adroitly uses a bathroom urinal.

Written by Ferrell, Reilly and director Adam McKay, it’s reminiscent of the dim-witted male camaraderie in “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” only this time, tiresome, annoying slackers are behaving like naughty boys–for no apparent reason–and each joke is routinely beaten into the ground. And with Judd Apatow co-producing, you know you can count on male nudity; this time, it’s Brennan’s testicles (hopefully, prosthetic ones) rubbed on a drum.

As a brief whiff of praise, it is fascinating to marvel at the versatility of Richard Jenkins who was so impressive in an entirely different type of role in “The Visitor.” On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Step Brothers” is a grossly vulgar, frustrating 4. No kin do.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.