Friday, January 9, 2009

Your Best Friend is no joblo...

I know that my previous post said I'd be talking about movies in an informal fashion, and this next review seems kind of structured, but that's because I wrote it for a website. A few weeks ago,, which has been my movie site of choice for many years, put out a call for DVD reviewers. It had been a long time since I had actually written a review (Jersey Girl doesn't really seem relevant anymore) so I chose a new DVD that had yet to be reviewed on their site and followed the format they use. Even though it didn't pay anything, I was a little disappointed that I didn't hear back from them, however I was saved the embarrassment of having to tell them that I can't review Blu-Ray (I don't have a player, I don't even have a TV, my laptop is my everything). But I was sneaky, and made a copy of the review I sent, which can now be read here:

DVD: Step Brothers Movie: 3 DVD: 3 Overall: 3

What's it about?
Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Director Adam McKay could not wrap TALLADEGA NIGHTS without knowing what they were going to do together next. They had a brainstorming session and McKay came up the image of Will and John in bunk beds... the rest of 'Step Brothers' basically writes itself: two forty year old unemployed men are forced to share a room when their single parents marry. The maturity level of these guys makes Billy Madison look like Doogie Howser as hijinks and shenanigans abound.

Is it a good movie?

Of course not, but the fun that the leads are clearly having does become infectious. You can't deny that the real life friends play well off each other, have dueling fros and look funny in briefs. They got some guy named Apatow to produce it, and apparently he has some funny friends too who don't mind showing up in bit parts. There's a reason these guys have a monopoly on comedies at the moment (or as I call it, a 'comopoly'), and it's not sex appeal.

The Extras
Deleted/ extended scenes : Guess what? They shot a whole bunch of stuff that either dragged on too long or wasn't relevant enough to the 'story' for it to be included the movie, watch it here!
This single disc version advertises having 'both theatrical & unrated versions.' The version I watched was the same running length as the theatrical release. At first I figured they probably just dropped a couple more 'F' Bombs and had a slightly longer close up on Ferrell's prosthetic balls, but when I couldn't find the other version on the disc, I deduced that the inclusion of these deleted and extended scenes count for the 'unrated version.' This misleading claim deserves a finger wag.
Commentary: This commentary by McKay, Ferrell and Reilly along with the film's composer comes in the form of an improvised musical, featuring a whole number dedicated to the maker of the aforementioned prosthetics balls. Basketball player Baron Davis also has some arbitrary participation.
Line-O-Rama: A fun feature on every Apatow DVD these days showing alternate takes where the actors improvise different one-liners. Since that's all these films basically are, there's usually some good stuff and you can be the judge if they chose the best lines to keep in the film.
Gag Reel: These are all the lines that were too funny to make it in to the movie because the actors couldn't keep their shit together while saying or hearing them.
“Boats 'n Hoes” music video: The complete version of a rap video the step brothers make on dad's yacht. You see enough of it in the film.
The making of Step Brothers: Spoiler Alert: Oliver Wood, the director of photography also shot all three of the Bourne movies. This is a spoiler because it's all I took away from this unnecessary 22 minute featurette.

Final Diagnosis
I had high expectations for TALLADEGA NIGHTS and was disappointed. Consequently, I had low expectations for STEP BROTHERS and was surprised at how well the same schtick held up for an hour and a half. Of course there were low points, and if you think you're getting something as good as ANCHORMAN, or if you're getting tired of this bunch altogether, then don't watch this. However, if you're a big fan of, then this low concept, heavily improvised and often indulgent comedy will surely get a few chuckles.

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