The Brothers Solomon
By Cynthia Fuchs,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Goofy lowbrow comedy is too crude for kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The majority of the movie's jokes are premised on the brothers' social incompetence, which involves farting, misspeaking (particularly blithe, unintentional insults -- like calling a woman fat without any malice), misunderstanding (an African-American character thinks they're racist; cops think they're soliciting children), fighting, and crying. Ignorance (manifested as mean jokes and snide remarks) and the plot about a surrogate mother lead to arguments, threats, and general discomfort (it's framed as comedy, but the results are often strained). The brothers' surrogate makes some good points about the responsibilities of parenthood.
Violence & Scariness
Cars screech and collide (mildly). Woman is hit abruptly by bus (nothing graphic shown). John hits Dean's nose with a dart (no blood, but wincing). James repeatedly threatens the brothers with violence, but he doesn't take action. The brothers design a crib that can withstand rocks, glass, and other objects being hurled at it (which they demonstrate with loud glee); they also experiment with tossing and catching a doll meant to represent a real infant.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In a dream, John licks (with visible tongue) water left when a bikini-clad Tara leaves a hot tub. An extended joke about pedophilia has the brothers sitting in a car near a park, trying to solicit a little girl to get ice cream (their intentions are harmless). Phrases include references to "anal," "nuts," "vagina," "baby hole," "put a baby inside you," "hard-on," "tits," "dick," "multi-orgasmic." But for all of their talk, the guys don't really get any action. A visit to a sperm bank includes talk of semen and discussion and brief views of porn magazines (with titles that include words like "jugs" and "jizz"). Some homoerotic/homophobic humor (Dean kisses a date's father on the lips; when the brothers make up after a fight, John is naked -- though only his chest is seen -- during their hug, causing Dean to ask him to put on a towel).
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Frequent profanity, including lots of uses of "f--k" and "motherf--ker," plus "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "damn," "bitch," "crap," "sucks," and "c--ksucker."
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Products & Purchases
Visual and verbal mentions of many products and companies, including Meetspot, Craigslist, Little Debbie, Barnes & Noble, Laverne & Shirley, Energizer Bunny, North Face, and Snickers. Also specific references to other movies (Ulee's Gold, Stuart Little).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
John invites Tara out for drinks, then sets up a dinner with champagne in the hallway outside her apartment (when she rejects him, he drinks ostentatiously); Dean drinks liquor in despair. Brief cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens may well be interested in this lowbrow comedy -- despite (or, more likely, because of) its frequent jokes about bodily functions and sex, crude innuendo, and strong language (particularly variations on "f--k"). There's some mild slapstick violence (falls, wrestling, minor car collisions), as well as some awkward sight gags (a bloodless dart in the nose), and brief references to drugs (morphine) and drinking. Two dating jokes might be considered mean: Dean calls a girl "fat," and a sight-gag flashback shows the brothers with their prom dates, two older Eskimo women. An African-American character verbally challenges stereotypes but ends up physically fulfilling them, in language and menacing demeanor (he's a walking stereotype).
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The Brothers Solomon
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What's the Story?
THE BROTHERS SOLOMON begins with the titular pair -- John (Will Arnett) and Dean (Will Forte) signing up for a dating Web site. When their father (Lee Majors) falls into a coma and his doctor says it might help if the guys fulfill his one wish, John and Dean set out to find a baby mama. In need of money, Janine (Kristen Wiig) signs on for the job, as long as they do it through a sperm bank (which leads to the inevitable masturbation and porno magazine jokes). Though her boyfriend, James (Chi McBride), initially objects, soon all four adults are planning for the baby's arrival.
Is It Any Good?
Always a beat behind its own jokes, Bob Odenkirk's film is a poorly paced comedy that unintentionally accomplishes something worth noting: It makes Knocked Up look like high-brow comedy. The quest to give their dad a grandkid isn't the film's center – it's really a buddy story complete with requisite break-up-and-make-up sequence.
Even when the brothers do learn some kind of lesson, it hardly matters. They're obviously not supposed to fit in with the rest of us, considering how often the film asks viewers to laugh at their stupidity. When, at long last, Janine tries to convince the brothers' hot neighbor that John and Dean are really nice guys, she doesn't believe it. And, despite Arnett and Forte's strangely goofy brand of charm, neither will you.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the appeal of R-rated comedies. Do the raunchy bits make movies like this funnier, or do they go overboard? Do you think anyone in real life is quite as socially clueless as the Solomon brothers? Does exaggerating people's quirks make them funnier? Why or why not? How does the brothers' view of women affect their attempts to start relationships? Parents and teens can also discuss how the movie defines "family." How does the Solomon family change by the end of the movie?
- In theaters: September 6, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: December 26, 2007
- Cast: Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Will Forte
- Director: Bob Odenkirk
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and sexual content.
- Last updated: February 4, 2023
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