Script Review: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Step Brothers

Yes, you read that right. Someone over at Sony Pictures should really invest in a paper shredder, because scripts of theirs (fully intact, no tape necessary this time) keep falling into my lap. This time I’ve gotten my grimy mitts on a July 2007 draft of Step Brothers, the upcoming comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. It has been penned by Ferrell and his Anchorman writing partner Adam McKay, who will also make his return to the director’s chair. And I am here to tell you that we may have another classic Ferrell movie on our hands — this one has the potential to be every bit as ridiculous as Anchorman and as overwhelmingly crude as Semi-Pro, Ferrell’s other 2008 release.

We are first introduced to Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Reilly) via their parents, Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Nancy (Mary Steenburgen). The parents meet up at a hearing aid conference and fall head-over-heals-over-garment for each other on day one. Cut to their wedding, seemingly only weeks later. We come to find that the union of these two elders has created step brothers out of 39 year old mama’s boy Brennan and 40 year old house bum Dale. Instantly, the tension begins to build.

The hilarity ensues when Brennan and his mother Nancy move in with Dale and Robert, completing their completely unorthodox family unit. The two boys grown men begin to be very competitive — and this is where Adam McKay steps in and delivers fantastic quips such as this:

Nancy: So Brennan, while you were driving around today, Dale told me he’s into Kung Fu. And I told him that you’re really into Kung Fu as well.

Brennan: I have a green belt.

Dale: I don’t believe in belts. But I once killed a doberman pincher with my bare hands.

Robert: That’s not true Dale. Don’t be ridiculous.

And that is just the tip of the ice berg. In fact, I would rather not spoil the whole thing for you. Yet, I can absolutely say that I have not laughed this hard reading a script in a long time — at least not recently. The characters in this film, as with those in Anchorman, are completely relatable and all the while ridiculous. Dale and Brennan are every maladjusted 40 year old man that you’ve ever met, with one hand still in the pockets of their overprotective parents.

But I know what you are thinking — how can there be conflict in this film? Insert Brennan’s big brother Derek, who with the right delivery (courtesy of Adam Scott) could steal the show similar to Sack Lodge in Wedding Crashers. Derek is an uber-douchebag real estate mogul hell bent on helping Robert and Nancy sell their home (which would in turn, leave Brennan and Dale without a place to live) and set sail on the open see, two retired old lovers living out the rest of their days on the open water. At the hands of big brother Derek (and for that matter, his closet nympho wife Alice), we are given some of the films more outrageous gags — and as you can imagine, there are plenty of cock references to go around.

It is a script that has everything necessary to become another enjoyable flick — we have two custom-fit leads whose characters are familiar, but still hilarious; we have a premise that is absolutely ridiculous — two competitive step brothers, both struggling to adjust to the adult worlds they should have been living in for 20 odd years already; and we have plenty of memorable one liners. It was a script that had me looking like a mildly retarded kid, sitting in a coffee shop bursting out into laughter every 5 minutes for no apparent reason. There is a reason, folks — and it lies in the film Step Brothers. And if you haven’t seen the first publicity shot that was released last week, go see it here and you will know what I mean.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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