15 Dumb Movies Which Are Secretly Smart

12. Step Brothers

step brothers
Columbia Pictures

Writer-director Adam McKay (Anchorman) is basically a master of taking bargain basement concepts and imbuing them with an eccentric intelligence which can fly over the heads of casual audiences completely.

On the surface Step Brothers might seem like yet another entry into the tired man-child comedy sub-genre, but what separates McKay's film from so many other similar efforts is its subtle under-layer of social commentary.

To the most aloof observer, this is a broad studio comedy with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly playing emotionally stunted middle-aged men.

But it ultimately speaks to a wider trend in America over the last decade-or-so, where "extended adolescence" has seen less and less adults leaving home, securing steady jobs, entering relationships, perhaps starting families and otherwise becoming functional members of society.

McKay obviously doesn't push this angle too hard or in a particularly mean-spirited way, but as easy as it is to laugh at Ferrell and Reilly's dopey shenanigans, underneath the gags and the exaggerated central performances, the film is saying something about adulthood (and also masculinity) in the 21st century.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.