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Step Brothers (film)

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Step Brothers
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAdam McKay
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byJon Brion
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited byBrent White
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • July 25, 2008 (2008-07-25)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65 million[1]
Box office$128.1 million[1]

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 (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) are immature adults still living at home. Brennan lives with his divorced mother, Nancy (Mary Steenburgen), and Dale lives with his widowed father, Robert (Richard Jenkins). 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 (Adam Scott), 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 (Kathryn Hahn) 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 to retire and sail the world on Robert's boat and allow Derek to sell the house, and they 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. 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 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 (Horatio Sanz) 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.




Step Brothers was released in the United States on July 25, 2008.

Home media[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 of an estimated 3.87 million units in DVD and Blu-ray, totaling $63.7 million.[2] 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".[3]


Box office[edit]

Step Brothers opened in 3,094 theaters and grossed $30.9 million.[1] It grossed $100,468,793 domestically and $27,638,849 internationally for a total of $128,107,642.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

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."[4] 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".[5]

On IMDB, Step Brothers is rated a 6.9 out of 10.[6]

Cultural and political reception[edit]

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.[7]

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."[8]

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[9].

Rap album[edit]

McKay announced on Twitter in 2011 that production of a Step Brothers rap album featuring Ferrell and Reilly had begun,[10] but later said that the rap album fell apart and will not be released.[11]

Possible sequel[edit]

Ferrell and Reilly have talked about a sequel. Reilly had the idea.[12][13] McKay was also interviewed about the possible sequel:

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.[14][15]

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."[16]

However, in an interview with Collider [17] 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:

In February 2017, Ferrell said in an interview with Rolling Stone that there are currently no plans for a sequel to Step Brothers.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d "Step Brothers (2008)". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ "Step Brothers - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "Step Brothers (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 23, 2008). "Step Brothers Movie Review & Film Summary (2008)". Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Step Brothers, retrieved 2019-03-07
  7. ^ "boats n hoes - YouTube". Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  8. ^ Bassett, Laura (2014-04-17). "GOP Consulting Firm Staffer Registers 'Boats 'N Hoes PAC' (UPDATE)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  9. ^ Nast, Condé. "The Catalina Wine Mixer Is a Real Event Now". GQ.
  10. ^ McGlynn, Katla (2011-01-04). "Is There A 'Step Brothers' Rap Album In The Works?". Huffington Post.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Brew, Simon (September 15, 2008). "Anchorman and Step Brothers sequels?". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  13. ^ ""Step Brothers": Reunited And It Feels So Good". The Urban Daily. July 28, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (2011-06-17). "'Step Brothers' Sequel: John C. Reilly Talks Potential Sequel, Talks 'Hunger Games' Mixup". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ Germain Lussier (February 27, 2014). "'Anchorman 3′ Won't Happen Says Adam McKay". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  17. ^ 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".
  18. ^ Greene, Andy (February 21, 2017). "Will Ferrell on 'Step Brothers' Sequel: 'You Have to Resist the Temptation'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

External links[edit]