Because director Adam McKay knows what will stand the test of time and what won’t. And so does Ferrell and John C. Reilly. They proved this point with Tallageda Nights, which they were all a part of. McKay was also responsible for Anchorman, which may be the most recited/imitated comedy since Caddyshack. One-liners are the key to these movies, and Step Brothers is a feature-length collection of Ferrell/Reilly one-liners. From Reilly’s “Dad, I’m saying this because I love you: FUCK YOU!” to Ferrell’s “SHH! You’re waking the neighbors!!!” while he attempts to bury Reilly’s Dale alive, the movie’s sole intention is to be repeated by adolescents and boy-men whose most recent purchase was most likely a keg. And while it’s easy to argue that these are the only people who find this kind of crude, rudimentary humor funny and worth recitation, that does not rightly explain the over 100 million domestic box office dollars Step Brothers brought in. Men over 25 liked this crude movie, and women did too. They are just less likely to admit it. Another group of people also enjoyed the film but won’t admit- at least not fully. They are called movie critics.

And why did they like it? Because stupid it funny, whether you like it or not. And people who do stupid smart are geniuses. That was confusing to read.

Let’s go over the plot of this movie: Two 40-year-olds who act like they’re 8. And a mean brother named Derek, played with comedic genius by Adam Scott. The car scene in which Derek and his family sing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” a cappella is one of the funniest scenes of 2008. Derek has his own collection of one-liners (“you know what really gets my dick wet?”) and steals every scene he’s in. Someone give Adam Scott an Oscar (just kidding – kind of).

Which brings us to another McKay-ism: pitch-perfect casting of supporting characters. See Richard Jenkins (an Oscar nominee mind you) and Mary Steenburgen as Dale and Brennan’s respective parents. Jenkins facial expressions are enough for a spin-off comedy feature – perhaps a film about a man attempting to revert to dinosaur origins? I see it working.

There’s also the fast-paced delivery apparent in all of the McKay films. There is never a moment to reflect on a joke that does not hit in Step Brothers, and there is certainly more than one joke that does not hit. But McKay and co. continue to strike while the proverbial iron is hot. This helps to prolong the comedy’s staying ability. When I first saw Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, they were all not THAT funny. Only okay, mostly odd and certainly annoying.

These films become funnier with time because their fans edit out the unfunny or make the once unfunny funny through repetition and interpretation. When Caddyshack came out nearly 30 years ago, it was far from successful, regarded mostly as a series of SNL sketches that lacked the weight for a feature-length running time. Now it is widely considered one of the funniest films ever made. Why? Because of the evolution of the lines in the movie and the interaction of the characters. For example, the Bill Murray speech about his encounter with the Dalai Lama (“Gunga, galunga la gunga…big hitter, the Lama) is as commonplace to an adult male as The Godfather. The same goes for Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and Groundhog Day – all comedy classics that were disrespected for years.

While Step Brothers will most likely never reach that level of timelessness, it will certainly grow in popularity in the near future. It’s already made over $55 million in DVD sales.

And it’s not just Will Ferrell that makes these movies funny. The funniest movies he has starred in (save Elf, and he was supporting in Old School) have been directed by McKay, while others (Kicking and Screaming, Semi-Pro) garner the bare minimum of Ferrell-based laughs. If you don’t believe this, go to Funny or Die, a site created by both Ferrell AND McKay. Both of these guys are funny and know how to be funny and, most importantly, attract other funny people (see IFH Mondays). True, Ferrell may continuously play the same version of Ron Burgundy, but no one directs Burgundy better than McKay. And no one compliments Burgundy better than John C. Reilly (even though he wasn’t in Anchorman).

McKay and Ferrell (and Reilly) don’t have anything on the cutting board right now, so it looks like Step Brothers will have to be memorized over and over while you refresh that Funny or Die home page for new shorts. Chances are, whatever there next comedy is will be worth the wait. You just may not know it at first.

Did you like Step Brothers? Do you think it will become a comedy classic?

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