Mr. Movie

Not so 'Step Brotherly' love

No step brotherly love here, just a cold, hard negative review.

A few years ago, an anti-drug group cut a 30-second TV commercial featuring two 30-something guys smoking pot in a room. At the end, you hear their mom and dad yelling up the stairs wondering what the two “boys” are up to and demanding to know why they aren’t out looking for work.

As a 30-second commercial with a message, the concept is limited but comic. Halfway through Step Brothers I wondered if Will Ferrell, director Adam McKay (Tallageda Nights) and John C. Reilly’s inspiration for the movie came from that public service announcement.

Nah — that’s too easy.

Changing theories I thought since the concept has the maturity level of a 12-year-old, they must have been sitting around enjoying a few beers and started giggling about this or that and with reality a bit altered, out came the inane plot for Step Brothers.

Then, the frightening truth hit me. Farrell, Reilly and McKay were stone cold sober when they wrote Step Brothers and actually think 100 minutes of two grown men acting like 12-year-olds is funny.

Ferrell’s Brennan Huff is 39 and lives at home with mommy. Dale Doback is Reilly’s character, and he’s 40 and still batching it with dad. Neither can keep a job. Mom and dad — done wonderfully by Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins — get married and the two so-called men must learn to cohabitate.

Comedy on film hits an all-time low when a 12-year old kid and his gang bully around Doback and Huff. Nothing else is worth mentioning.

Reilly is a talented actor and singer with an expressive, sad-sack face, and the ability to make you laugh or cry. His track record is much better than Farrell’s and includes a deserved Oscar and Golden Globe nomination and a dozen critically acclaimed performances.

Regular readers know I’m not a fan of Farrell or his movies. No doubt, people he trusts tell him he’s funny. Fans write him letters and tell him he’s funny. Farrell is the No. 9 top money earner according to Forbes Magazine and snagged $31 million in the past year, so the grosses from his films tell Farrell he’s funny. A big PR firm gets him lots of press, and they tell him he’s funny.

Farrell is no-doubt starting to believe the hype, yet he gets no funnier with each movie. Life has its own sense of humor. Just when you think everything you touch is going to turn to gold — presto — you step into Step Brothers.

Like Saturday Night Live alum, Adam Sandler (No. 10 on the Forbes list), Farrell needs to grow up and stretch his to-date underwhelming talent. In basically straight roles such as Stranger than Fiction or a great supporting turn like Winter Passing, I love the guy.

Maybe drama is his niche. It doesn’t seem to be comedy, because he’s just not funny.

Rated R for supposed to be mature themes, language. It opens Friday at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild 12.

Mr. Movie rating: 1/2 star

Mr. Movie ratings

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself