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THE BROTHERS SOLOMON

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Will Arnett, Will Forte, Chi McBride, Kristin Wiig, Malin Akerman
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Sony
Features: See Review
Length: 93 Minutes
Release Date: December 26, 2007

“What the f*ck is that?”

“Oh, that the f*ck is the crib.”

Film ***

Certain comedies, especially ones that consist of dumb, lowbrow humor, have their own rhythm. In the case of The Brothers Solomon, the rhythm is such a rare, off-center quality that if you don’t find yourself giggling at the first several jokes, don’t bother with the rest of the movie. I, however, was hip to the movie’s bizarre level of humor almost immediately, and though I may be biased in this regard, it doesn’t hurt that one of the stars is a comedy favorite of mine. More on that later.

Unfortunately, the movie was dead on arrival at the box office. The reason for that was probably that a comedy about dimwits and pregnancy sounded all too familiar, as the box office hit Knocked Up was released a few months earlier. But at the same time, maybe it’s good that it didn’t become a massive hit, because if it had, all you would’ve heard is endless comparisons to the other movie. In the end, The Brothers Solomon is far better suited as a cult comedy.

The title characters are John and Dean Solomon (Will Arnett, Will Forte), two inept but well-meaning brothers who seem to have a grasp on everything in life…except for talking to women. They’ve had a very good raising, as their widowed father (Lee Majors) not only raised them but home schooled them as well. The only setback to result from that upbringing is not having a clue about how to engage in the dating scene, in addition to being not the brightest guys on the block.

But now the brothers are more determined than ever to succeed with women…and so much more. When dad slips into a coma, John and Dean learn from the doctor that his final wish is to see his first-born grandson. Upon hearing this, the brothers instantly declare, “MAKE A BABY FOR DAD!” It may be a challenge for them, but as one of the brothers puts it, “we used to enter women for ourselves, this time we’d be entering women for dad.”

Of course, John and Dean’s dating escapades land them with zero luck. Both go on blind dates and propose the baby-making plan. John is rejected on the spot, but Dean almost scores with an eager plus size woman, until she gets hit by a bus. Meanwhile, their comatose father has been kicked out of the hospital and is shacked up with them in their apartment.

But an alternative idea is thought out and soon comes into play. The brothers put out an ad online for a woman willing to carry a child to term. They do get an instant response in the form of Janine (Kristen Wiig). And the brothers are a bit let down when they realize that they will have to go to a sperm bank to get the job done, rather than intercourse with the woman as they were hoping.

Many of the movie’s funniest moments involve John and Dean having to deal with Janine’s ex-boyfriend, James (Chi McBride), a hulky and intimidating figure who ain’t too happy that his former flame is already in the company of not one, but two men, and white ones. The movie has fun with racial jokes, or more appropriately racial misunderstandings, like when James, dressed in a janitor’s uniform, goes on a tirade when the brothers ask if he’s a janitor. James’ response is priceless.

In case you’re wondering which star was the comedy favorite of mine, it’s Will Arnett. All you have to do is watch any episode of Arrested Development to realize what a comedic genius this guy is. He’s also delivered some seriously funny work in movies like Blades of Glory and Let’s Go to Prison, and will be seen in the upcoming Will Ferrell basketball comedy, Semi-Pro. And if there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s that Arnett sells every funny line in this movie, no matter how unusual or off center the joke is.

And SNL cast member Will Forte, who wrote the screenplay, establishes himself as a comedy craftsman with his own original flavor of humor. What Forte and director Bob Odenkirk, who also directed Let’s Go to Prison, have done here is craft a weird, oddball comedy in the vein of such comedy classics as The Jerk and Dumb and Dumber with a strong level of confidence in the unusual humor style. And there are some great gags here that I haven’t seen before, especially one involving a flying ad banner. Watching that scene, you’ve got to admit, that they were going for something different and, from my perspective, they delivered.

Again, it’s not a movie for everyone. Even if you’re hip to oddball dumb comedies, The Brothers Solomon might seem a tad bit different in it’s comedy flow. But clear your head, let the movie and the jokes follow and hopefully you’ll find The Brothers Solomon to be a uniquely enjoyable comedy that is both hilarious and extremely sweet.

Video ***1/2

This anamorphic offering from Sony is a most decent and serviceable presentation. The image is clear, crisp and full of live detail, as well as to being a bright picture with a nice touch of color usage. It’s a simple looking comedy, but the presentation makes the most of it thoroughly.

Audio ***

The 5.1 mix does a real fine job of making the most of a mostly dialogue-driven comedy. Dialogue delivery is truly sharp and occasional music playback, especially repeated uses of the song “St. Elmo’s Fire”, provide a nice kick. No big sound flaws detected at all.

Features ***

This disc includes a truly funny commentary track with Will Arnett and Will Forte, as well as the featurette “The Making of The Brothers Solomon”. Also featured is another brief featurette titled “The Fine Art of Creating a Specimen”, as well as nine Deleted Scenes and bonus trailers for additional Sony releases, including Across the Universe, Walk Hard and Superbad.

Summary:

Audiences ignored and critics slammed it furiously, but I’m here to set the record straight, The Brothers Solomon is a most hilarious, if a bit odd, movie that is deserving of becoming a newfound cult comedy classic. If you are a die-hard fan of the two Will’s, then you are in for a uniquely funny comedy.

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