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Movie Review

Step Brothers a.k.a. “Die Stiefbrüder”

MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, and pervasive language.

Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson

Extremely Offensive
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1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 25, 2008 (2,800 theaters)
DVD release: December 2, 2008
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Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

Featuring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Andrea Savage, Elizabeth Yozamp, Lurie Poston, Kellan Rhude, Logan Manus, Travis T. Flory, Pedro Miguel Arce, Sema Batuk, Matt Besser, Scott Burn, Jeremy Clark, Cris Collinsworth, John D. Crawford, Wayne Federman, Kyle Felts, Gary Gold, Mary Catherine Hamelin, Rosine “Ace” Hatem, Adam Herschman, Bryce Hurless, Ken Jeong, Jake M. Johnson, Paula Killen, Brianna Konefall, Alan D. Purwin, June Raphael, Rob Riggle, Danielle Schneider, Dmitri Schuyler-Linch, Erinn Selkis, Laimarie Serrano, Wyatt Tipton, Gillian Vigman
Director: Adam McKay—“Talladega Nights”
Producer: Apatow Productions, Mosaic Media Group, Relativity Media, Judd Apatow, Joshua Church, Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, David B. Householter, Adam McKay, Jimmy Miller
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

“They grew up so fast.”

Having worked together as writers and actors on “Saturday Night Live” and making the leap to movies together in such films as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby,” Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are no strangers to one another. Regrettably, their latest collaboration, “Step Brothers,” is not strange to the viewers; this film has a big case of “been there, done that.”

This film, which opened nationwide on July 25, reunites Ferrell, who plays Brennan Huff, with John C. Reilly, his wingman from “Talladega Nights,” playing Dale Boback. Both Brennan and Dale are early-forties ne’er-do-wells with no jobs and no prospects. The two are introduced when Brennan’s mother and Dale’s father get married, and they move in with their parents and settle into their roles as stepbrothers. The two adults with “Peter Pan” syndrome (never want to grow up) become quick enemies, each trying to make the other look bad in the parents’ eyes. When their constant bickering and fighting threatens to tear the family apart, the two try to patch things up and get their lives on track. Veteran actors Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins round out the cast as the two parents of these adult children.

Little positive can be said about this sophomoric waste of time—when will Hollywood stop producing this nonsense—when will people stop spending their money on this garbage? Will Ferrell, is a comedic genius, and he has proven his mettle time after time, but his latest films seem to play down to his audiences, and he seems satisfied playing the has-been or never-was who is willing to say or do anything for a cheap laugh. This film is a sight gag snoozefest—replete with exposed genitalia, gross sexual references, and f-bombs galore! They were clearly playing to an eighteen year old audience who could giggle at every little curse word; it could have been a kindergarten classroom and one of the young children said “poop” and the whole class would laugh.

The film’s central message about blended families coming together “could” have gone somewhere, but the plot gets lost somewhere in the process.

Suffice it to say, Christians should avoid this movie; there is nothing redeeming about it. This writer would rather not even waste any more words on this nonsense.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—There was nothing redeeming about this movie. I felt dirty after watching it. I kept waiting for it to be funny, but it was really just stupid.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Natasha, age 31
Negative—This movie was one of the worst films I've ever seen. It was so offensive. Every other word was the “F” word, which was dropped at least forty times. Honestly, it possibly could've been dropped more. (No exaggeration, either.) And, to top it all off, there was a full view of Will Ferrel's private parts for a whole scene, and there were scenes where Adam McKay and this woman talk absolute filth.

The movie has a plot, but the language and the filth make it just plain stupid. Even though there was a somewhat message to the movie, it didn't make any sense. I would highly recommend that if you're a born again follower of Jesus Christ, DO NOT watch this movie. This isn't something we should be watching, AT ALL. This movie gets a majoorrrrr thumbs down.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Breann, age 18 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie I thought was very funny. There were a few suggestive scenes, but in my opinion, movies with such material should not be given negative reviews and talked badly about, many people worked hard to make this movie, and I am a big fan of Will Ferrell. Watching a movie that is rated R, you should be expecting the worst, and be sure that you are mature enough be able to handle bad language or partial nudity, and to realize that it is just a movie and let it rub off and ignore it if it offends you. I thought that this was a great movie, but morally, it definitely wasn't the best. GOD BLESS
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jacob, age 14 (Canada)
Movie Critics
…Profanity: Extreme… at least 59 f-words… Sex/Nudity: Extreme… A married woman forces herself on a man-child character to have sex (with movement and sounds) while the beginning of another sexual encounter is seen, as are some unrelated, pornographic images (female nudity) in magazines and a man's scrotum is briefly seen in close-up. …
…There is one genuinely funny moment in the movie… When did comedies get so mean? …In its own tiny way, it lowers the civility of our civilization. …
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…looney times two… the unraveling isn't as smartly written as the setup. And because the characters beyond the parents and boys aren't as finely tuned, the film starts to lag. …
—Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post
…potty-mouthed picture… Low expectations are the best way to approach ‘Step Brothers’… wildly outrageous comedy… The one mistake ‘Step Brothers’ seems to make—and it does it quite a bit—is beating jokes into the ground…
—Garrett Conti, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
…An immature comedy about immaturity—if not retardation. … With such a lame premise, the search for laughs grows more frantic with each passing hum-drum minute. That search takes the movie into cruder and cruder territory with no real payoff except for those who cling to their adolescence. …
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…STEP BROTHERS is mostly an excuse to indulge in vulgar, infantile behavior between two foul-mouthed grown men. …