Step Brothers (film)

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Step Brothers
Promotional poster
Directed by Adam McKay
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Music by Jon Brion
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Edited by Brent White
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • July 25, 2008 (2008-07-25)
Running time
98 minutes
106 minutes (unrated version)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65 million
Box office $128.1 million

Step Brothers is a 2008 American buddy slapstick comedy film starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. The screenplay was written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, from a story written by them with Reilly. It was produced by Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow, and directed by McKay.

The film was released on July 25, 2008, two years after the same group of men wrote, produced, and starred in another comedy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.


39-year-old Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and 40-year-old Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) are two unemployed, middle-aged, spoiled, offensive, and self-centered men who still live with (and are reliant on) their parents. They have no intention of moving out or finding jobs and behave childishly. When Brennan's mother Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) and Dale's father Robert (Richard Jenkins) marry, Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other as step brothers.

After an argument over Dale's drum set causes Dale and Brennan to get into a fight, their parents warn them that they must find jobs within a month or else be forced out of the house. When Brennan's successful younger brother Derek (Adam Scott) comes to visit with his oddly perfect family, he mocks them and entices Dale to punch him in the face. Brennan is awed that Dale was able to stand up to Derek since he (Derek) embarrassed Brennan at a talent show years prior. Meanwhile, Derek's wife Alice (Kathryn Hahn), who is also resentful of Derek, finds Dale's courage a turn on. Brennan and Dale discover their many shared interests and develop a strong personal bond.

Brennan and Dale are unsuccessful in obtaining jobs after annoying all of their prospective employers. After the interview, a local school bully, Chris Gardocki (Logan Manus) and his classmates bully Brennan and Dale. Robert and Nancy reveal their plans to retire and sail the world, and demand that Brennan and Dale find other living arrangements. Consequently, the two sabotage attempts to sell the house by dressing up as a Nazi and a Klansman.

Dale and Brennan, in their attempts to start an entertainment company, "Prestige Worldwide", release their first music video for "Boats 'N Hoes" in front of their family, which shows them accidentally wrecking Robert's boat. Angered to his limits, Robert refuses the investment. Robert later walks out on Christmas Eve to go to the Cheesecake Factory for a drink and, upon his return later that evening, proclaims to Nancy that it was the "happiest he had been in months". The following day, at Christmas dinner, he announces his intention to divorce Nancy, causing Brennan and Dale to break down.

Upon discovering that each blames the other for the divorce, the boys decide to go their separate ways. Brennan starts working for Derek's helicopter leasing firm and Dale works for a catering company.

Brennan, wanting to reunite the broken family, takes the initiative to manage a sales party for Derek's company and invites Robert and Nancy. The party is a success and Robert ultimately encourages Brennan and Dale to be their eccentric child-at-heart selves again, sympathizing with their misery in their "adult" lives due to an experience as a 17-year-old when his dad told him to stop acting like a child and give up his dreams of being a dinosaur. When the singer from the band hired for the event leaves after being heckled, Brennan and Dale take to the stage and perform "Por ti Volare." Derek (like the rest of the audience) is so moved by the performance that he and Brennan make amends.

Six months later, Robert and Nancy are reunited and move back into their old home, while Brennan and Dale form a successful entertainment company that runs karaoke events.

After the credits, Brennan and Dale confront Gardocki and his classmates, fighting and effortlessly beating many of the kids and causing the remainder to run away. Brennan and Dale then walk away, with the two lightly arguing about the latter's drum set.


Critical reception[edit]

Step Brothers received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 55%, based on 184 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The relentless immaturity of the humor is not a total handicap for this film, which features the consistently well-matched talents of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly."[1] 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".[2]

Home media release[edit]

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 an estimated 3.87 million units in DVD and Blu-ray, totaling $63.7 million.[3] 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."[4]

Rap album[edit]

Adam McKay announced on Twitter that production of a Step Brothers rap album featuring John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell had begun,[5] but later said that the rap album fell apart and will not be released.[6]

Possible sequel[edit]

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have talked about a sequel. Reilly had the idea.[7][8]

Adam McKay was also interviewed about the possible sequel. “We’re kicking around the idea of Step Brothers 2," he said. "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.[9][10]

Director Adam 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."[11]

However, in an interview with Collider [12] posted on 21st October 2014, Adam 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.

“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 50’s it still works, so we could easily return to that, but for now no sequels.”


  1. ^ "Step Brothers Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  2. ^ "Step Brothers: Review". Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  3. ^ "Step Brothers - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ McGlynn, Katla (2011-01-04). "Is There A 'Step Brothers' Rap Album In The Works?". Huffington Post. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ "Anchorman and Step Brothers sequels?". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  8. ^ ""Step Brothers": Reunited And It Feels So Good". The Urban Daily. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  9. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (2011-06-17). "EXCLUSIVE: Major 'Hunger Games' Casting Confusion". Huffington Post. 
  10. ^ "Adam McKay Accepts the Death Of ‘Anchorman 2′ And Pitches ‘Step Brothers’ Sequel | News". Screen Junkies. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  11. ^ Germain Lussier (February 27, 2014). "‘Anchorman 3′ Won’t Happen Says Adam McKay". Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  12. ^

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