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Approaching a Will Ferrell comedy expecting sophistication and Wildean wit is about as absurd as believing a political manifesto.
The star of Anchorman and Talladega Nights is rightly celebrated for slapstick, pratfalls and coarse, crass comedy, and he does not disappoint here. He plays work-shy 39-year-old Brennan Huff who still lives at home with his single mother, Nancy (Mary Steenburgen).
Huff is understandably huffed when Nancy remarries and takes him to live with her new husband, Robert (Richard Jenkins) and his 40-year-old son, Dale (John C Reilly), who is also terminally work-shy and still happily living at home.
With Judd Apatow as one of the producers (and a lively appearance by his protege Seth Rogen), there is little chance of subtlety. Step Brothers essentially sets out to pit two spoiled grown-up brats against each other in a series of childish verbal and visual confrontations in order to raise a barrel of low laughs. Which, to its credit, it does.
Ferrell and Reilly emerge as regrettably funny adult idiots in a lewd, licentious lads' movie that had me laughing uproariously and then hating myself for doing so - until the next crude gag came along.