by ED SYMKUS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & A & lt;/span & t the end of the final credits for Step Brothers, my first thought was, "What the hell was that?" Then into my head popped another phrase, involving either "crasser" or "more crass" -- I'm not sure which is more proper.

Then I came around to full consciousness and noticed that I was behind the wheel of my car, doing about 60, on a curvy side road and grooving to "It's a Sunshine Day."

What had happened to me? It was the movie, dammit. The movie almost killed me. Every copy should be confiscated and burned. The movie is the devil!

Yeah, I knew what I was getting into. I knew that Will Ferrell starred in it, alongside John C. Reilly, and I knew that those guys starred with each other in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby -- which, in fact, was a movie that also made me drive really fast (but on the way home from that one, I was listening to "King of the Road"). And I knew that it was directed by Adam McKay, who made that Ricky Bobby movie as well as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, which also starred Will Ferrell, but which featured neither hide nor hair of John C. Reilly. So this can't really be Reilly's fault.

But Step Brothers sure was crass -- crasser (more crass?) than anything I've seen since Borat kissed his sister. And now that I think of it -- this is weird, but Step Brothers is just now starting to come back to me -- this film features some of the weirdest kissing scenes ever put on display in a moving picture. They range from awkward to icky.

But that's not what made it so, you know, crass. No, what made Step Brothers crass was everything else about it. Like, for example, the plot: two 40ish man-boys still live at home, each with a single parent. And they act like they're about three decades younger than their actual age -- like they're in need of a good paddling, or at least some good meds.

Will Ferrell's Brennan is the son of Mary Steenburgen's divorced Nancy. Brennan likes to wear Pablo Cruise T-shirts. John C. Reilly's Dale is the son of Richard Jenkins' Robert. Dale likes to wear Return of the Jedi T-shirts. When Robert first sets eyes on Nancy, in the middle of a medical lecture that he's delivering and she's attending, he not very subtly announces, right smack into the microphone, in front of all kinds of doctor types, that she has the best breasts he's ever seen. And she smiles.


Soon they're getting married, and moving in together and introducing their idiot, tantrum-prone sons to each other -- who decide, on the spot, that they will be enemies. Then the movie goes on for another hour and a half, with one of them hitting the other over the head with a cymbal and the other one hitting the first one in the face with a shovel ... and then burying him alive ... and then -- well, after that, you tend to end up driving down some deserted road with no sense of self-awareness.

Everyone is Step Brothers yells. Everyone in Step Brothers swears. (Even sweet, adorable, Mary Steenburgen, on whom I've had a crush since way before Malcolm McDowell married her and broke my heart -- she cusses like a trooper.) One unfortunate guy is forced to lick some white dog poop. And then, whoa! There's music by that nasty German fellow, Richard Wagner, being sung -- in German, for Pete's sake! -- by Will Ferrell.

So let's try to figure this thing out together. Is Step Brothers funny? Hell, yeah! Is it embarrassing to watch? Yup. Is it right to assume that if someone in the movie casually mentions the single name Kobayashi, viewers will understand that they're being treated to a penis joke? And why, why on Earth, would anyone come up with the idea of a Billy Joel cover band, but one that only sings Billy Joel's '80s material?

One other thing: This movie was produced by Judd Apatow. Think there'll be any male nudity? You bet!


Rated R

Directed by Adam McKay

Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins

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