Film / Step Brothers

Step Brothers is a 2008 movie produced by Judd Apatow and starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, where two slacker adult children, Dale Doback (Reilly) and Brennan Huff (Ferrell), are forced to live with each other when their parents get married, after a Freudian Slip by Dr. Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins). Hilarity Ensues as they become best friends after suffering from hilarious hijinks, committing beautiful singing and rightful child abuse. (They deserve it in context).

This film includes examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Dale Doback.
  • Awesome Music: In-universe, the brothers think their first company's music video is this. It's a misogynistic, terribly-rhymed piece of trash filmed with ugly hookers.
  • Ax-Crazy: Derek's dragon Randy (Rob Riggle), who ate a man's penis while safe within international waters.
  • Bald of Awesome: Doback. That is, Dr. Robert Doback.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ever, ever, EVER touch Dale's drum set. Especially if you put your testicles on it.
  • Big Brother Bully: Little brother bully, in this case, with Derek.
  • Black Comedy Rape: When the brothers first fight over the drums, Brennan claims Dale was trying to rape him.
    Nancy: You yelled "rape" at the top of your lungs.
    Brennan: Mom, I honestly thought I was gonna be raped for a second. He had the craziest look in his eyes. And at one point he said, "Lets get it on."
    Dale: That was about the fighting. I am so not a raper!
  • The Bully: Derek and Chris Gardocki.
  • The Cameo: By Seth Rogen, Phil LaMarr and Ken Jeong.
  • Character Signature Song: To a smallish extent, Derek's is "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. He sings it in school and later has a company whose motto is "My homes are nice nice baby."
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Alice - justified because she's in a miserable marriage with a complete douchebag of a husband.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The film is unnecessarily littered with these.
  • Coattail-Riding Relative: When talking about their sons, Robert tells Nancy that Dale is a coaster who thinks his medical career is a family business he can join in on. Which makes it funnier when Dale later accuses Brennan of being a layabout who lives in a fantasy land and refuses to get a job.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Played not quite straight. While Brennan and Dale do grow up mentally and emotionally, it's revealed in the end that they have partially returned to their childlike ways.
  • The Corrupter: Derek actually makes Robert into more of an asshole just by proximity.
  • Cringe Comedy: Particularly near the start when the two main characters are still acting like their Man Child-selves. Noteworthy examples being where they moan about losing TV privileges and excitedly asking for permission to build a bunk bed. Also Brennan's idea of hitting on his therapist swings pretty hard into this.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Brennan and Dale got everything they needed for their music video except for one crucial detail: someone to drive the boat while they performed.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to Robert when he first meets Nancy while trying to give a presentation on hearing aids.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: After Brennan acts like a brat one too many times, Robert gives him a spanking, and when Dale tries to stop him, he shouts, "You're next, mister!"
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Applies at least the first time Alice has sex with Dale... in which she coerces him by cornering him in the men's room. It ends with him telling her he likes her and thinks she's incredible. Although stunned by the surprise encounter, he seems pretty unfazed by the fact that he was pretty much just raped. Later, as shown in the unrated edition, they have a somewhat more consensual encounter - it seems at that point he has the option of escaping but chooses otherwise.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Dale and Brennan eventually drive Robert Doback to this. Can you really blame him?
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Derek does love his mother, albeit in his profoundly asshole way.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In-universe, John Stamos for both Brennan and Dale.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Derek has two: firstly in a flashback when he ruins Brennan's talent show performance before lip-syncing to Vanilla Ice, and then when he bullies his family into a perfectionist Guns 'n Roses tribute on a car ride. Both of which establish the full extent of his absolute dickishness.
  • Epic Fail: Brennan and Dale's makeshift bunk bed, which falls apart the second Dale climbs in bed. Amazingly, Brennan only gets a few minor scratches.
    • The job interview montage. Dale and Brennan fuck up every interview in the worst and most hilarious way possible. Even when they actually get hired, Dale manages to ruin it with a very potent fart.
    • Also, the "Prestige Worldwide" presentation, which ends in Derek and Brennan crashing Dr. Doback's boat during their music video.
  • Extreme Doormat: Nancy is the definition of an enabling mother. Not just to Dale and Brennan, but also to Derek, as shown when she allowed him to wreck Brennan's talent show performance in high school.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Justified in that the two main characters are middle-aged and should be beyond such things.
  • Flashback: One about Brennan and Derek's school performances and later about the two flying a kite.
  • Flashback Effects: The school performance flashback looks like a grainy old home video.
  • Freudian Excuse: Brennan is a Man Child due to having his Jerkass brother getting the entire school to sing "BRENNAN HAS A MANGINA" during his school performance. Even the parents and faculty joined in. And his mother.
  • For Science!: One of Prestige Worldwide's stated goals.
    • "We put liquid paper on a bee. It died."
  • Freudian Slip
  • Happy Flashback: Near the end when Derek reminisces about him and his brother as children.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After witnessing Brennan singing, Derek has an emotional breakthrough and becomes less of a dick.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Not only did Nancy let Derek ruin Brennan's talent show performance by singing "Brennan has a mangina", she actually joined in singing it.
  • Hilarity Ensues
  • Hypocritical Humor
  • Improvised Weapon: Brennan and Dale fight each other with baseball bats, golf clubs, and even a bicycle.
  • Irony: In-universe, a casual job interviewer believes Brennan and Dale wear tuxedos for the occasion ironically, to make fun of seriousness of typical job interviews.
  • Jerkass: Derek, Derek, fucking Derek. He's an obnoxious, showboating bully whose own wife despises him. He becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold after Brennan's singing causes him to remember the better bonding times they had together in childhood.
    • Let's not forget the two title characters, who, for the majority of the film, can't even be said to mean well as they destroy the lives of their parents out of self-involved entitlement and a complete inability to function as human beings.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids led by Chris Gardocki who beat up Dale and Brennan and force Brennan to lick a dog turd. Dale and Brennan get their revenge in the end.
  • Large Ham: Many characters, but especially Randy, who yells POW!! to punctuate Derek's sentences. He also mimes eating a man's penis.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Averted, for once. Despite Alice & Dale's affair, it's never hinted that Alice could have become pregnant, even though that might seem like prime gag fodder for a comedy like this. Possibly justified since the two involved are at least middle-aged...
  • Man Child: The Movie: Both Brennan and Dale are this to the extreme, being 40-somethings who still live with their parents and act like 8-year-olds. It later turns out Derek, despite seemingly being successful, is just as childish and immature as the boys - just in a different manner. Dr. Doback also reveals he still pretended to be a dinosaur at the age of seventeen.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: After Brennan gets crushed in between the "bunk beds," Dale immediately runs to their parents' room, frantically crying and screaming, "It's bad! It's so bad! There's blood everywhere!!!" When we actually cut back to Brennan, we see that he only suffered a mild scratch on his arm.
  • New Parent Nomenclature Problem: Played for Laughs
    Brennan: I'm not gonna call him Dad.
    Nancy: Brennan, you're 39 years old. I wouldn't expect you to call him Dad.
    Brennan: Well I'm not going to, *ever*! Even if there's a fire!
  • Never Wake Up A Sleepwalker: Robert finds out the hard way that the danger of waking up a sleepwalker is Real After All.
  • Not So Above It All: Nancy saying "What the fucking fuck?!"
  • Poor Man's Porn: Brennan whacks off to a female gymnastics video in the intro. Brennan and Dale both reveal that Good Housekeeping is their favorite non-pornographic magazine to masturbate to.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: While Derek has slightly more emotional maturity than Brennan and Dale do, his behavior is identical to a mean spirited teenager picking on two younger children.
  • Smug Snake: Derek, especially right before Dale punches him.
  • Speed Sex: Gender flipped. Any time Alice and Dale have sex, it's Alice who climaxes quickly.
  • Spoiled Brat: The titular characters.
  • Stepford Smiler: Alice.
  • Stylistic Suck: "Boats n' Hoes".
    • Also, the "bunk beds" that Brennan and Dale build on their own, although they are extremely proud of their work.
    Dale: That looks like the one you would buy from a store.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Invoked and played for laughs.
    • Also deliberately inverted and weaponized by Dale and Brennan themselves when sabotaging Derek's realty appointments.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever Brennan sees Dale's drumset, intense vocals are heard, the epic tune teasing Brennan and encouraging him to play the drumset. The epic theme music in question is an impossible-to-find track known as either "Captain Benevant & His Ragtag Crew" or "Dark Morning" by Aisle Landon.
  • Toilet Paper Substitute: When Brennan is using the toilet, he runs out of toilet paper and he resorts to using his toilet rug and his sink to clean himself. The next day, he buys a huge amount of toilet paper.
  • The Unfavorite: Both Brennan and Dale become this after Robert meets Derek and instantly takes a liking to him over his immature and idiotic son and stepson. It's possible that Brennan was this also to his and Derek's mother who let the latter ruin the former's school performance and even joined in singing "Brennan has a mangina".
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: While Derek manages to attract the majority of the viewer's contempt, the film does not shy away from highlighting the fact that its two protagonists are selfish, entitled and emotionally-stunted manchildren who are motivated to keep their family together solely because they don't want to grow up.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: It's revealed that Brennan is 39 years old in 2008, which means he was born in 1969 or late 1968. It's also stated that when his brother lip-synced to "Ice Ice Baby" in a school talent show, Brennan was 17, placing the event around 1986. The song was actually released in 1990.
  • Yandere: Alice becomes this to Dale after he punches her Jerkass husband in the face.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Dale and Derek's wife Alice have a bizarre, kinky affair based entirely on Dale punching Derek.