Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Step Brothers

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Foul-mouthed Ferrell comedy isn't very funny. No kids.

Movie R 2008 112 minutes
Step Brothers Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 36 parent reviews

age 9+


ahold this movie is for your eyes its a good family movie with a little bit of potty words

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
1 person found this helpful.
age 13+



This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (36 ):
Kids say (136 ):

There are an incredible number of things wrong here, starting with the fact that the filmmakers seem all too content to let Reilly and Ferrell's antics stand in for any plot logic or sense. Within five minutes of the film's start, you're wondering why exactly Robert and Janet have put up with their crazed slacker sons for so long. But if they hadn't, you wouldn't have a plot for your movie. Of course, you still don't have much of one, but director Adam McKay seems remarkably content to let Ferrell and Reilly scream, shout, and flail their way through every scene, assuming that the audience will find their antics hilarious. Produced by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up), Step Brothers has the raunchy rawness of his other comedies, but none of the sweetness or structure.

Overall, Step Brothers feels more like a marketing plan than a movie, more like a poster than a plot. Ferrell repeats his overly familiar wailing buffoon character, and Reilly matches him (shouted) note for (shouted) note. It's as if everyone involved was so sure that what they were doing was comedy gold that they didn't bother making an effort to create fully drawn characters or an actual plot; instead, we get two stars in thinly drawn parts that are entirely too similar to what we've seen them do many times before, drifting lazily from scene to scene with no real direction. What might have looked like a winning plan on paper -- more hilarity from the stars, folks behind hits like Anchorman and Talladega Nights! -- ends up playing out as a shabby, self-indulgent mess.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate