Step Brothers (2008) Film Review

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Watching this in the cinema back in 2008, I spent the first half of the film laughing my butt off and then, very suddenly, I found it totally not funny. It was a very strange experience. I had to revisit, and what did I find? I didn’t laugh at all. Well, not until the musical number at the end, which did give me a few giggles.

The plot is that there are two men, Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Dale (John C Reilly) both in their late 30s, both unemployed and living with their single parents. The parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) fall in love and marry and the two brothers have to learn to share.

There are some pretty funny lines, and some ridiculous slapstick scenes, but essentially, it didn’t work for me. I find that both John C Reilly and Will Ferrell do a variety of different comedy, but it is the really dumb ones like this that I just don’t like.

The Campaign (2012) Film Review

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Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has held a position as congressman in North Carolina for years, and is again running unopposed. But he continues to make major political gaffes, and uses spin to get around it. The Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd), who are the faceless men behind politics, need to get someone more respectable in office to ensure their illegal Chinese labor plans get through congress. They find the most unlikely candidate, Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), an eccentric director of a small town tourist centre.

There’s a lot to love in this film. Seeing Will Ferrell punch a baby was definitely a highlight – horrifically detailed slow-motion CGI that is oh-so-wrong, but just worked. Plus, whilst Galifianakis plays an eccentric, the portrayal doesn’t seem to have that cruel edge that a lot of comedy has had over the last few years.

Whilst I enjoyed the film, I felt it didn’t stay strong for the full 85 minutes. The story just seemed to drop off by the end. Good for a laugh, sure, and a lot funnier than I had expected, but not totally grouse.

Everything Must Go (2010) Film Review

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Nick Halsey (Wil Ferrell) is an alcoholic who has lost his job and, upon arriving home, finds his wife has thrown all of his belongings on the front lawn and has left. In denial, he starts to live on his lawn until an unlikely friendship with a black teenager, Kenny and a direct conversation with his new, pregnant neighbour Samantha leads him to start taking action.

I don’t know why it seems that so many of the films that I have seen recently have been these slow-moving character pieces with someone having to deal with major negative life changes where not much happens but eventually things start getting better. They are probably good films, but when you see several in a short period of time, any potential impact is lost. What’s more, in this as in several other films, the character’s turnaround comes from very little, and seems to be quite definite and final.

Wil Ferrell is very believable as this broken man. I think many comic actors can be quite good in serious roles – think Adam Sandler in Punchdrunk Love, or Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or Robin Williams in several of his serious roles (not all, though. He does have a tendency to get a bit too earnest). Wil Ferrell can definitely do it too – he was fabulous in the much under-rated Stranger Than Fiction. By all means, so for more serious roles, but I reckon go for films that have a bit more plot.

The Other Guys (2010) Film Review

Every time I try to tell someone about this film, I get so excited by it that I end up watching it. It happened again last weekend. I don’t think The Other Guys did very well at the cinemas, which is a darned shame. Here’s the low down.

Due to a hilarious mishap, the heroes of the New York City Police Department (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnston and Samuel L Jackson) are no longer the top cops and some of the other guys are trying to step up. Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) is an excellent cop who made a career destroying mistake which has left him attending a ridiculous support group and partnered with forensic accountant Alan Gamble (Will Ferrell). Martin(Rob Riggle) and Fosse (Damon Wayans Jnr) are two other cops desperate to get in on the action, and who are utterly terrible at delivering an action movie-style one-liner. Love it. When Gamble accidentally stumbles across a conspiracy, they have to go rogue to try to find justice.

I reckon that the storyline is a bit weak, especially some of the details regarding the conspiracy, but I don’t care. The film is just so funny and absurd that I love it. From the whisper fight to the mysterious attraction of Gamble and the skills that Hoitz developed as a child to bully other children, it’s marvelous. I am a fan of Ferrell, and I think if you don’t like him and his humour, you probably won’t like this film. However, there is an amazing supporting cast including the marvellous Steve Cogan as the incompetent businessman and Eva Mendez as the ‘plain’ wife of Alan Gamble. Plus, it was totally and utterly wonderful to see Michael Keaton back on the screen as the fantastic police chief with a part-time job at Bed, Bath and Beyond who is constantly accidentally quoting TLC. Too good.

Now I’ve said all of that, I just want to watch it again. Hilarious.