Analysis of the Comedy in Step Brothers

Topics: Charlie Chaplin, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly Pages: 2 (1238 words) Published: November 3, 2014

Comedy and its Subgenres in Step Brothers
Comedy is defined as “a work that is designed in some way to provoke laughter or humour on the part of the viewer” (Geoff King, Film Comedy, p.3). Adam McKay’s 2008 film, Step Brothers, starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly definitely fits these criteria, and therefore is a comedy itself. Another criteria of comedy is that the worlds in which they take place are much less serious than is the real realm of existence. In Step Brothers, this non-seriousness is seen consistently in the antics of Brennan Huff (Ferrell) and Dale Doback (Reilly). At one point in the film, the two brothers are bullied by a group of grade-schoolers, and forced to get down onto the floor and lick dog poop. The image of two forty-year-old men being beat down and forced into tasting dog poop successfully creates laughter among the audience, since in the real realm of existence such an event would never occur. Another criteria which defines comedy is that characters are often portrayed as one-dimensional and over-exaggerated. The characters in Step Brothers similarly hold this characteristic; Dale and Brennan both are described as hedonistic 40-year-olds who seem to have stopped maturation in their pre-teen years, while Dale’s brother, Derek, is shown to be an egotistical douchebag incapable of thinking of anyone but himself. Another aspect of comedy met by Step Brothers is the physical comedy and music. In the film, there is a scene in which stepbrothers Dale and Brennan take their dad’s boat out to film a music video for their song Boats and Hoes, which includes the lyrics “The Nina, The Pinta, The Santa Maria, I’ll do you in the bottom while you’re drinking sangria”, “Nachos, lemon heads, my dad’s boat, you won’t go down cause my dick can float”, and “I’m a pussy pirate, my name is Jack Sparrow, take off my pants so you can see my flesh arrow”. This scene works as a reminder to the audience that the world of Step Brothers, is not the same...

Bibliography: Comedy, Geoff King, Wallflower Press, 2002
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