SONY has released the surprisingly hilarious "STEP BROTHERS" on blu-ray and dvd(in various versions). While "STEPBROTHERS" wasn't the huge hit Will Ferrell fans expected it to be, it's likely due to the less than impressive trailers that had been marketing it. Promoting it as "from the creators who brought you, "TALLADEGA NIGHTS" doesn't scream "GREAT COMEDY!" In truth, the film is so much more consistently funny and witty than "TALLADEGA NIGHTS," that we highly recommend it!!!
The film is well paced, from the opening sequence wherein a professional doctor(Richard Jenkins), giving a speech, falls head over heels in lust for a woman in the audience(Mary Steenburgen) and the two decide after hooking up, after realizing they both have sons around the age of 40 still living at home with them, that they're perfect for one another. Of course, the two sons(Ferrell and John C. Reilly) are horrified about the changes they see coming with their parents, as well as themselves having to move in with one another, and losing their dependence. So, the two battle it out constantly and in immature, hilarious, and sometimes quite gross( something to do with a drumset) ways. Most of the film is devoted to the rivalry, ensuing friendship, dissolution of friendship and future success of these two. But, thrown in for more hilarity is the obnoxiously successful brother of Ferrell, their parent's relationship and job hunting, all of which work themselves out in ways, more pleasing than one could expect from this kind of comedy. While some of the humor could and arguably should have been left out,(the scene with Seth Rogen demonstrates Judd Apatow's penchant for achieving tastelessness without humor), the great majority of the film works perfectly, and viewers will leave with smiles and more than a fair share of hilarious memories.
SONY has decided to release various versions on dvd, the theatrical version, the unrated version, and a combo of both!?! However, the blu-ray offers both versions.
The 2.40:1 aspect ratio is intact in both blu-ray and dvd formats. The blu-ray offers an image that one can't help but be pleasantly surprised by. Sure, one hopes for great depth on blu-ray, but this reviewer and guests continuously noted at different points throughout the film, just how incredibly great looking the image and detail was! There are some moments with better depth than others(the scene wherein the two brothers are walking home before a fight), but there wasn't one scene that appeared flat. Some may take issue with fleshtones appearing too warm in spots(true), but for the most part, they're dead on. Contrast is flawless, with deep blacks and grays. It's a great looking blu-ray transfer, and close to reference quality! The 16:9 enhanced dvd offers an impressive image with deep colors, however the depth can't come close to what's achieved in blu-ray and there were some artifacts totally absent in the blu-ray format.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix for blu-ray and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for dvd. While both mixes offer front heavy separation, typical of comedy films, surround and discrete effects are utilized effectively at key moments, with flair. Music is key to the mood of various scenes, and this element is notably better in terms of fidelity in the lossless format. In a particular scene, wherein Ferrell's brother is singing a "Guns and Roses" song with his family, the dynamic range makes it stand out as a great individual scene in the TrueHD mix, wherein the standard Dolby Digital mix, loses most of the intended impact.
SONY has included a great number of extras on the blu-ray, and "Great" is the operative word! To begin with, the commentary with both main stars, the director, and NBA star Baron Davis(?) is one of the funniest commentaries ever created, and certain to generate as many laughs as the film, if not more! It's terrific! There are a number of featurettes, including a look at how the music video, "Boats and hos" was created. The deleted scenes, extended scenes and outtakes, are all worth viewing and "all" quite funny. Add trailers and the fact that most extras are in high-def, and "STEP BROTHERS" comes easily recommended to be a top choice stocking stuffer for the upcoming holidays!