Ralph Potts reviews this comedy from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that is making its debut on Ultra HD Video that stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as two aimless middle-aged men still living at home, who are forced against their will to become roommates when their parents marry.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 96/108 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Adam Scott, Kathrun Hahn
Directed by: Adam McKay
Music by: Jon Brion
Written by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: October 2, 2018
"They Grow Up So Fast"
My Take:

I reviewed Step Brothers when it released on Blu-ray in 2008 and have included comments from that review here. The rating for the bonus features is the same as they are identical to the original release. Since my outlook on the film has changed somewhat since originally seeing it, new ratings for that and the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos mix are contained in this review.

Brennan Huff, a sporadically employed thirty-nine-year-old who lives with his mother, Nancy. Dale Doback, a terminally unemployed forty-year-old who lives with his father, Robert. When Robert and Nancy marry and move in together, Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other as step brothers. As their narcissism and downright aggressive laziness threaten to tear the family apart, these two middle-aged, immature, overgrown boys will orchestrate an insane, elaborate plan to bring their parents back together. To pull it off, they must form an unlikely bond that maybe, just maybe, will finally get them out of the house.

For me I find that Will Ferrell’s films run hot and cold. There are several of his movies that I have really liked while there are others that I just can’t stomach. Honestly I am not clear as to why he feels the need to burden us in pretty much every one of his films with seeing him practically naked. I had seen the trailer for Step Brothers and after seeing his last collaboration with John C. Reilly and Director Adam McKay, “Talladega Nights”, I had no desire to see it.

I was happy to see Richard Jenkins was in it because he is one of my favorite character actors. I watched the Unrated version which adds a little over seven minutes to the theatrical version. I don’t see the need to try and expound upon the storyline because the synopsis pretty much sums it up. As you might expect this is an outrageous, raunchy, and silly film that delivers some over the top humor which is typical of Will Ferrell. If you like him at his absolute best in this regard than you will love Step Brothers.

He and John C. Reilly team up as two of the most juvenile, annoying, immature, bed wetting and narcissistic 40-year-olds ever. Their combination of nonsensical physical comedy and dialog that borders on pure drivel is incessant throughout the course of the film. The interesting thing is that while it became fatiguing at times, there were many times where it bordered on hilarity. Be warned that no stone is left unturned with respect to vulgarity so if you are thin skinned or easily offended don’t bother.

Richard Jenkins was of course priceless as the frustrated father and step father Dr. Robert Doback. He delivered some of the funniest lines and best reactions (from the perspective of a fairly sane person) in the film. There were just too many instances where I found myself saying out loud “this movie is ridiculous”. At 106 minutes the unrated version was simply too long and I can say with certainty that even at 98 minutes the theatrical cut will feel similar. This film doesn’t have universal appeal and I found it more absurd than entertaining.

After originally watching Step Brothers with my family, who all thought it was hysterically funny, I was forced to re-watch it at their insistence that I needed to give it another chance. So, I begrudgingly gave in and have seen it quite a few times over the last ten years. Well, I guess they were right. Don’t get me wrong, pretty much everything I said in my comments above still rings true but, there is no denying that this stupid-funny movie makes me laugh and, laugh out loud. It has pretty good replay value as well, despite knowing where the over the top buffoonery is landing every time. Step Brothers is by design intended to be crass, inane, and far left of center. There is no question that it hits its target. You most definitely have to be in the right frame of mind before sitting down with it. If you are, there’s a good chance it will keep you chuckling along.

Replay Value: 
Parental Guide:

The R rating is for crude and sexual content as well as pervasive language. The unrated version is the same but more of it.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Step Brothers comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Step Brothers was derived from 35mm film sources and rendered from a 2K DI.

From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in this presentation. This easily bests the 1080p version, offering imagery that lifts the vail. Step Brothers is an overtly colorful, and its palate of autumn-based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/yellow/green benefited from UHD's wider color gamut, appearing bolder and vibrant. Resolution gets a noticeable boost as well. Close-ups and mid-level shots offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture revealing subtleties and minutia with the image.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, such as the exterior shots around the Doback home and the park where Dale and Brennan are accosted by the band of juvenile bullies. The film’s remaining daytime segments appeared more vibrant and tonally gradational in Ultra HD as well. Low level sequences, such as those that take place in Dale and Brennan’s bedroom or at night in their backyard had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. I think that Step Brothers most definitely benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement is a discernible one that elevated the experience of watching the film.

Dolby Atmos:

The new Dolby Atmos mix uses the entire platform so as to broaden the soundstage. This includes off camera sounds and low-level ambience. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized. Based upon the subject matter, I appreciated the fact that the sound designers didn't go overboard with the freedom of object versus channel-based mixing. The soundtrack retains much of its original essence with the Atmos mix adding a noticeable increase in scope.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Step Brothers Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Step Brothers Blu-ray
  • Disc 3: Legacy Bonus Features
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Step Brothers is an over the top comedy from the rather twisted minds of Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Director Adam McKay. It bombards the audience with a profusion of twaddle that can be quite funny at times but, depending on one’s mood can become tiresome very quickly. It is making its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, featuring a faithful video rendering that makes the most of the source material, a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and a fan friendly supplemental package that includes legacy material. I wasn’t originally a fan of Step Brothers but, it has since grown on me. If you’re a fan this Ultra HD upgrade is a no-brainer. Enjoy!
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems