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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 byColumbia Pictures
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 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 marry each other. Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen, Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn also star.

The film was released 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 writing and producing team.


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 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 a turn-on, 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. Robert is furious and refuses to make an investment. 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 fully mature adults and are doing well at their new jobs and living independently.

Wanting to reunite the family, Brennan volunteers to oversee the Catalina Wine Mixer for Derek's company and invites Robert and Nancy. They hire the catering company Dale works for. The party is a success, until the lead singer (Horatio Sanz) of Uptown Girl, a 1980s Billy Joel tribute band hired to perform at the event, loses his temper with the audience after he refused to play any pre-80s Billy Joel hits 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. Brennan and his therapist Denise (Andrea Savage) are in a relationship, 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. In a mid-credits scene, Brennan and Dale stand up to a group of bullies from a middle school who abused Dale a year prior. In a post-credits scene, Brennan and Dale sleepwalk once more.



Critical reception[edit]

Step Brothers received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 55%, based on 182 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."[2] 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".[3]

On IMDB, Step Brothers is rated a 6.9 out of 10.[4]

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. Doing so, they shot a music video for a song titled "Boats 'N' Hoes". "Boats 'N' Hoes" has contributed to the success movie with over a million hits on YouTube and merchandise with the title of that song on there. [5]

Politically, there was a politcal action commitee (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."[6]

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.[7] 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".[8]

Rap album[edit]

McKay announced on Twitter in 2011 that production of a Step Brothers rap album featuring Ferrell and Reilly had begun,[9] but later said that the rap album fell apart and will not be released.[10]

Possible sequel[edit]

Ferrell and Reilly have talked about a sequel. Reilly had the idea.[11][12] 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.[13][14]

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."[15]

However, in an interview with Collider [16] 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.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Step Brothers (2008)". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ "Step Brothers Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
  3. ^ "Step Brothers: Review". Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  4. ^ Step Brothers, retrieved 2019-03-07
  5. ^ "boats n hoes - YouTube". Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  6. ^ Bassett, Laura (2014-04-17). "GOP Consulting Firm Staffer Registers 'Boats 'N Hoes PAC' (UPDATE)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  7. ^ "Step Brothers - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ McGlynn, Katla (2011-01-04). "Is There A 'Step Brothers' Rap Album In The Works?". Huffington Post.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Anchorman and Step Brothers sequels?". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  12. ^ ""Step Brothers": Reunited And It Feels So Good". The Urban Daily. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  13. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (2011-06-17). "EXCLUSIVE: Major 'Hunger Games' Casting Confusion". Huffington Post.
  14. ^ "Adam McKay Accepts the Death Of 'Anchorman 2' And Pitches 'Step Brothers' Sequel | News". Screen Junkies. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  15. ^ Germain Lussier (February 27, 2014). "'Anchorman 3′ Won't Happen Says Adam McKay". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Greene, Andy (February 21, 2017). "Will Ferrell on 'Step Brothers' Sequel: 'You Have to Resist the Temptation'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

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