Review

The Brothers Solomon Review

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Sep 07, 2007 | 4:42am EDT

John (Will Arnett) and Dean Solomon (Will Forte) are as much related by blood as they are by their stupidity but apparently there’s room for them to grow even dumber. When their father (Lee Majors) slips into a sudden coma the brothers rush over—after stopping to rent a video—to be by his side. Once at the hospital they learn that their dad had but one unfulfilled wish: to become a grandfather. So begins the search for a female to impregnate in order to the brothers believe keep their father alive. It doesn’t take long after posting an ad on Craigslist for the bros to find their mate—or at least a woman named Janine (Kristen Wiig) who agrees to become artificially inseminated and bear their child for $12 000. As Janine’s trimesters pass by John and Dean prepare to become fathers by baby-proofing their apartment with strategically placed combination locks and by running practice drills for potential disasters—like what to do when the newborn jumps off the stairwell from 15 stories up. But nothing can prepare them for the third-trimester shocker delivered by Janine and her on-again off-again boyfriend (Chi McBride). Will Arnett desperately needs Arrested Development to come back and Will Forte—well he’s just lucky to have Saturday Night Live to fall back on  a place where he can commiserate with fellow cast member/recent big-screen failure Andy Samberg. Arnett who has made some awful post-TV decisions but none worse than this excels at dry smart comedy so while he can make due with some of the smirk-worthy moments in Brothers the overtly moronic material falls well beneath his range and thus flat. Forte is better suited for such stupidity with his trademark imbecilic grin but as is the case on SNL his scenes tend to be more annoying than funny. Another SNL-er Wiig at least saves face by not even attempting to play it funny or sarcastic; however that just shifts the mood from too-goofy to awkwardly non-goofy. McBride (Boston Public) scores a few stereotype-exploiting laughs while Cameron Diaz look-alike and hope-to-be Malin Akerman (HBO’s The Comeback) in a role that’s completely inessential to the story is really only there for looks. And so maybe there is something redeeming about this movie! With the Judd Apatows and Seth Rogens of today brilliantly covering the whole spectrum of hilarity—from dumb to smart—doofus comedy is as dead a sub-genre as torture porn (i.e. Hostel: Part II). That said The Brothers Solomon’s concept courtesy of writer/star Forte might’ve actually worked in the vein of the aforementioned Apatow-ian system. But director Bob Odenkirk—another great-at-TV (Mr. Show) bad-at-film (Let's Go to Prison) casualty—aims very low. As with similar movies most gags are predictable overlong and unrewarding; call it “The Saturday Night Live Effect ” which expressly states that a feature-length film must try and stretch what may be mildly funny in a three-minute sketch into 90 minutes. The stretching-humor theme is in fact rampant throughout. Case in point: During an airplane-billboard scene towards the end Odenkirk displays some inventiveness for about a minute before dragging the same gag out for at least five more minutes (though it’s a challenge to keep track of time at that point).

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