Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Adam McKay|
|Music by||Jon Brion|
|Edited by||Brent White|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$128.1 million|
Step Brothers is a 2008 American comedy film directed by Adam McKay, produced by Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow, and written by Will Ferrell and McKay from a story by Ferrell, McKay, and John C. Reilly. It follows Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly), two grown men who are forced to live together as brothers after their single parents, with whom they still live, marry each other. Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen, Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn also star.
The film was released by Sony Pictures Releasing on July 25, 2008, two years after Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Both films feature the same main actors, as well as the same producing and writing team. It grossed $128.1 million and received mixed reviews.
Brennan Huff and Dale Doback are immature adults still living at home. Brennan lives with his divorced mother, Nancy, and Dale lives with his widowed father, Robert. Robert and Nancy meet, fall in love, and get married, forcing Brennan and Dale to live with each other as step brothers.
Brennan and Dale despise each other for interfering with their lifestyles. Dale warns Brennan not to touch his drum kit, which Brennan later does anyway and is confronted by Dale. The argument over the drum kit erupts into a violent brawl between them. They are grounded with no television for a week following the incident and told they must find jobs within a month, or they will be evicted from the house.
When Brennan's younger and more successful brother Derek, a helicopter leasing agent, comes to visit with his family, he openly ridicules them for their lack of ambition, enticing Dale to punch him in the face. Brennan is awed that Dale stood up to Derek, while Derek's wife Alice finds Dale's courage attractive, attempting to begin a sexual affair between the two. Brennan and Dale discover their shared interests and develop a brotherly friendship.
Robert schedules several job interviews for Brennan and Dale, in which they perform poorly. Robert and Nancy reveal their plans, with help from Derek, to sell the house, retire and sail the world on Robert's boat. They also demand that Brennan and Dale attend therapy and find other living arrangements.
Dale and Brennan decide to start an entertainment company, "Prestige Worldwide". They present their first music video, which they filmed on Robert's boat, at Derek's birthday party. The presentation backfires when the video shows the boat crashing, shattering Robert and Nancy's sailing dreams. Robert is furious and refuses to make an investment, prompting Brennan to berate Robert as Nancy attempts to calm him down. On Christmas Day, Robert announces he wants to divorce Nancy, causing Brennan and Dale to break down.
Blaming each other for the divorce, Brennan and Dale fight, then decide to go their separate ways. Brennan works for Derek's helicopter leasing firm and Dale works for a catering company. Weeks later, Brennan and Dale are living independently as functioning adults and are doing well at their new jobs.
Wanting to reunite the family, Brennan volunteers to oversee a prestigious event, the Catalina Wine Mixer, for Derek's company and invites Robert and Nancy. They hire the catering company that employs Dale. The party is a success until the lead singer of the hired band loses his temper and is ejected. With the stage empty, Derek fires Brennan, blaming him for the debacle, and Robert ultimately encourages Brennan and Dale to be their eccentric child-at-heart selves again. Brennan and Dale take the stage and perform "Por Ti Volaré". Derek is so moved by the performance that he and Brennan make amends. Dale ends his relationship with Alice to her dismay.
Six months later, Robert and Nancy are back together living in their old house, while Brennan and Dale have turned "Prestige Worldwide" into a successful entertainment company that hosts karaoke events. Robert has his boat turned into a treehouse in the backyard.
- Will Ferrell as Brennan Huff
- Bryce Hurless as young Brennan Huff
- John C. Reilly as Dale Doback
- Richard Jenkins as Robert Doback
- Mary Steenburgen as Nancy Huff-Doback
- Adam Scott as Derek Huff
- Dmitri Schuyler-Linch as young Derek Huff
- Kathryn Hahn as Alice Huff, Derek's wife
- Andrea Savage as Denise
- Rob Riggle as Randy
- Logan Manus as Chris Gardocki
- Lurie Poston as Tommy
- Elizabeth Yozamp as Tiffany
- Travis T. Flory as Redheaded Kid
- Ken Jeong as Employment Agent
- Wayne Federman as Don
- Abigail Wagner as Erica
- Carli Coleman and Brandon T. Webb as the first homebuyers.
- Phil LaMarr as the Second Homebuyer
- Matt Walsh as Drunk Corporate Guy
- Seth Rogen as a sporting goods manager
- Gillian Vigman as Pam
- Horatio Sanz as the lead singer of "Uptown Girl", an 80s-only Billy Joel cover band
Step Brothers was released in the United States on July 25, 2008.
The film was released for home video on December 2, 2008 in a single-disc rated edition, a single-disc unrated edition and a 2-disc unrated edition. The film generated sales of an estimated 3.87 million units in DVD and Blu-ray, totaling $63.7 million. For the home video release, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Adam McKay recorded a commentary track mostly in song, accompanied by Jon Brion; the track covers "the movie-making process [and] their characters' offscreen lives" in remarks that range "from the inspired to the irritatingly prolonged, but when Ferrell and Reilly really get into a good groove, they're actually funnier than the main feature".
Step Brothers received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55% based on 204 reviews, with an average rating of 5.58/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Step Brothers indulges in a cheerfully relentless immaturity that will quickly turn off viewers unamused by Ferrell and Reilly -- and delight those who find their antics hilarious." At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Roger Ebert gave the film 1-1/2 out of 4 stars and stated, "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".
Cultural and political receptionEdit
In the movie, Dale and Brennan make a video investment pitch to both Robert and Derek about investing in Prestige Worldwide. To do so, they shot a music video for a song titled "Boats 'N' Hoes"; since the release of the film, "Boats 'N' Hoes" has contributed to the success of the movie with over a million hits on YouTube and merchandise that references the song.
Politically, there was a political action committee (PAC) known as the "Boats 'N' Hoes PAC". It was registered by Shaun Nowacki with the Texas Ethics Commission in 2014. Nowacki's firm was hired by multiple Republicans in Texas such as current Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, who was running for Lieutenant Governor, and Donna Campbell, who was campaigning for State Senator. The purpose of the PAC was never shared and was criticized by Lisa Paul who served as the Texas Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director who said, "Texas Republicans say they want to reach out to women, to be more inclusive, but actions like this reinforce a pattern of disrespect... Their contempt towards women is simply unforgivable."
The Catalina Wine Mixer mentioned in the film was not a real event that existed before or during the creation of the film. The event has since been created and hosted on Catalina Island on Descanso Beach.
We're kicking around the idea of Step Brothers 2. We feel like there's way more fat to be mined there. While it isn't quite the legend that Anchorman is, it has built kind of a nice following. We think it could be a pretty fun one.
He added that Ferrell and Reilly's characters would be mature and have jobs. "One of them's married and has a kid. They're still kind of goofballs but they've taken three or four steps. Then we have an idea for something happens that knocks him back to square one, and one of the brothers, John C. Reilly sort of instigates it, like 'we can't take this anymore.' And things go really bad, their lives kind of fall apart. They have to pull it back together is sort of the basic structure." McKay has also said that ideas that were not used in the first film may be used in the sequel.
McKay spoke to Empire in February 2014 and appeared to rule out a sequel to Anchorman 2 or Step Brothers saying, "No, that's the last sequel we're gonna do. There's nothing more fun to me than new characters and a new world. And now we're releasing this alt version, we're totally satisfied. No Anchorman 3."
However, in an interview with Collider  posted on October 21, 2014, McKay indicated the door was still open for a Step Brothers sequel at some point, while making clear it wasn't a short term development priority, stating:
We have a whole story [for Step Brothers 2], an outline that we're happy with. We were ready to go, and you know the story of [how] we got the call on Anchorman 2. We're not gonna do it now 'cause we just did a sequel, I don't wanna get into the sequel business too much. It was kind of a novelty to do one of them and it was certainly very interesting and I had never done anything like it. So I want to go make some original movies—or you know, The Big Short is an adaptation but do some different stuff. But who knows? 2–3 years, 3–4 years. I mean the funny thing with Step Brothers is if those guys are in their 50s it still works, so we could easily return to that, but for now no sequels.
- "Step Brothers (2008)". Box Office Mojo.
- "Step Brothers - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "Now with extra farts! 25 1/2 gimmicky DVD commentary tracks". The A.V. Club. November 1, 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
But to make it more of a challenge, Ferrell and company sing most of the commentary, accompanied by Jon Brion, who vamps while the boys free-associate about the movie-making process, their characters' off-screen lives, and the exorbitant price they had to pay for a pair of fake testicles. Because it's all spontaneous, the commentary ranges from the inspired to the irritatingly prolonged, but when Ferrell and Reilly really get into a good groove, they're actually funnier than the main feature.
- "Step Brothers (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- Ebert, Roger (July 23, 2008). "Step Brothers Movie Review & Film Summary (2008)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- "boats n hoes - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
- Bassett, Laura (2014-04-17). "GOP Consulting Firm Staffer Registers 'Boats 'N Hoes PAC' (UPDATE)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
- Nast, Condé. "The Catalina Wine Mixer Is a Real Event Now". GQ.
- McGlynn, Katla (2011-01-04). "Is There A 'Step Brothers' Rap Album In The Works?". Huffington Post.
- Jagernauth, Evin (2012-11-13). "Exclusive: Adam McKay Says 'Step Brothers' Rap Album Fell Apart, Sequel Still Possible But Won't Be Next". The Playlist.
- Brew, Simon (September 15, 2008). "Anchorman and Step Brothers sequels?". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- ""Step Brothers": Reunited And It Feels So Good". The Urban Daily. July 28, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- Zakarin, Jordan (2011-06-17). "'Step Brothers' Sequel: John C. Reilly Talks Potential Sequel, Talks 'Hunger Games' Mixup". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- "Adam McKay Accepts the Death Of 'Anchorman 2' And Pitches 'Step Brothers' Sequel". Screen Junkies. March 21, 2011. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
- Germain Lussier (February 27, 2014). "'Anchorman 3′ Won't Happen Says Adam McKay". Slashfilm.com. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- Chitwood, Adam (October 20, 2014). "Adam McKay Says UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT Isn't Happening; THE BIG SHORT Is Next But STEP BROTHERS 2 Could Happen in a Few Years".
- Greene, Andy (February 21, 2017). "Will Ferrell on 'Step Brothers' Sequel: 'You Have to Resist the Temptation'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
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