Step Brothers 2008

Critics score:
55 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The trick to the Men II Boyz comic genre -- where grown men are simply older, pudgier versions of their teen selves, struggling to find their place in the world -- is to find the surprises and payoffs within the Peter Pan syndrome. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Ferrell and Reilly get more mileage out of juvenile pouting and bickering than any other performers I can imagine, but that's about as far as this goes. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: There's a good subject for satire here, the extended adolescence of American kids. But satire presupposes maturity, or at least some perspective. Read more

Ted Fry, Seattle Times: It doesn't rank high in the lowbrow-comedy genre that has produced legitimately smart entries such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up, but it does succeed as a token contender by delivering real laughs at the expense of intelligence and decency. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Brideshead Revisited, it turns out, deserves a revisit. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: It's hard to believe that two people could reach middle age acting like grade-schoolers, and not in a funny way, either. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Step Brothers is stupid. Childish. Moronic. Simple. Juvenile. Silly. Just ridiculous. Man, is it funny. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Has one joke that it beats into the ground: 40-year-old men acting like petulant 9-year-olds. Luckily, Ferrell and Reilly were born with no shame or sense of personal dignity, and they give good tantrum. Read more

Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times: If you put the collected works of Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Judd Apatow in a pot, boiled off the excess and let the remainder cool, you'd have something very much like Step Brothers. Read more

Tom Charity, Unremittingly juvenile and irredeemably funny. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Director Adam McKay is a veteran of the Judd Apatow school of R-rated gross-out gooniness, but this latest installment in the canon is decidedly underpowered. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: 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. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Do not go to Step Brothers looking for anything remotely meaningful, sincere or spiritually enhancing. Go for a laugh. It's got plenty of them. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Step Brothers is hit-and-miss, but it made me wish that the usual American comedy of 'how stupid can we get?' had this much rage. Read more

Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail: A meagre, occasionally funny affair. Read more

Matt Weitz, Dallas Morning News: The engine that drives this flick is the chemistry between Mr. Reilly and Mr. Ferrell. The two obviously delight in each other's company, and it feels good and is funny to watch. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Ferrell is the third best teenage boy I've ever seen but John C. Reilly may be the greatest comic actor of our generation -- he's fearlessly earnest and incapable of mugging. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: Ticking away just beneath Step Brothers' freely associative surface is a fairly astute commentary on how we define such abstract concepts as 'growing up' and 'making something of yourself.' Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Nudie magazines, dog poop, words like 'mangina' -- if these are a few of your favorite things, Step Brothers is the comedy for you. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Though McKay and his cast make the most of the material, Step Brothers is constrained by its one-joke concept. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Although the comedy is a little messed-up and childish itself, it still delivers a few good laughs. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Watching people act like kids is annoying. Now everyone can join in the un-fun with Step Brothers, Will Ferrell's latest summed-up-in-one-line concept comedy that tests our patience so much more than his previous movies did. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: I thought I knew funny, but I was mistaken. Before the blessed light of Step Brothers entered my life, I knew not the sweet comedic splendors of live burial, bunk-bed catastrophe or a minivan family singing 'Sweet Child O' Mine' in four-part harmony. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: It's not subtle, not the cleverest thing Apatow has put his name on. But for lowdown, cheap and dirty laughs, it's pretty hard to beat Reilly and Ferrell, riffing, trashing and trash-talking each other for 94 mostly mean, sometimes manic minutes. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Full of riffy, improvised moments and a couple of jaw-droppingly raunchy sight gags, the comedy follows a typical buddy-movie arc -- conflict and loathing giving way to bonding and brotherhood, or step-brotherhood in this case. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Few films are worse to sit through than comedies that don't work. Step Brothers is one of those. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: When did comedies get so mean? Step Brothers has a premise that might have produced a good time at the movies, but when I left, I felt a little unclean. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Stupid, crude and hilarious, Step Brothers works by sneaking past our better judgment. Read more

Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle: Reilly jumps into his role with the zeal of a Method actor -- no fear about sporting tiny underroos for the bulk of his screen time -- but he sometimes comes off as more scary than funny. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are essentially playing the same person, which is the movie's fundamental, irreparable flaw. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: There is no plot, no sense, symmetry or structure to this train wreck. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: On its own terms, Step Brothers is hilarious. But it's a shame that the filmmakers didn't have more faith in the audience. Why resort to gross-out tactics when your premise is strong enough to allow for a more sophisticated approach? Read more

Bruce Demara, Toronto Star: A movie of unrelenting idiocy featuring boorish behaviour, unrealistic character development and ludicrous plotting. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Ferrell, the Hollywood star most notorious for going naked in his movies, shows off only his belly, and that for a teasing second. For most of the rest of the time, you'll be reveling in, or enduring, one more exhibition of grown men playing children. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Read more

Tom Huddlestone, Time Out: Despite some obvious flaws, 'Step Brothers' remains a hugely enjoyable, well-constructed slice of lowbrow Saturday night entertainment, leaving Ferrell's position as the reigning king of US comedy secure for a while longer. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The concept is inherently funny, but the plot grows thin and the laughs grow fewer once the premise is established. Read more

John Anderson, Variety: Seesawing from the gleefully stupid to the desperately stupid, Step Brothers is an indicator that the Judd Apatow juggernaut has made one too many trips to the well. Read more

Brian Lowry, Variety: Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: Thank god that when he became a man, Will Ferrell never put away childish things. His Step Brothers is so childish it seems to arrive in diapers, and that's not bad; it's good. Read more