It’s no secret I have a thorough dislike for all things “Step Brothers.” It’s officially a bummer of a film and the entirety of its conversely hilarious post-credit scene was not funny to me at all. I have tried desperately to engage with jokes about Karl Rove, Walter Mondale, and the Truman Show, which is all well and good but far better than the goofy-yet-sleazy humor presented in that scene. Nonetheless, there was something about the film that bothered me so much that I decided to toss my movie-critic hat out the window and try a test.
I grabbed a loogie from the counter of the local Starbucks and spent a couple of weeks observing who was laughing at what. How long did the camera linger on each actor? What came into my head when they said “wanker” or “jackass” or other similarly “awkward” and vile stuff? Is the whole movie really so bad? Is it just one of those movies that made an impression one time and then faded into obscurity? Was it just something I wrote about in which case, the movie simply deserved the terrible stigma it enjoys? What are the highs and lows of the movie? Is the whole thing an unmitigated pile of dicks?
A few days into my new experiment I started to see a pattern emerge. I started to see what people were seeing. I started to feel a bit more forgiving about a film that just so happened to have very few redeeming qualities. There was something inherently funny about those words “wanker” and “Jackass” (I even have a good line in the movie where Jenna Maroney gives them an acronym-themed makeover for her sisters).
I’m not sure what’s the solution here: Do you and your friends laugh at the same inappropriate things from a film or from the same old films, but their laughter is much more polite? Perhaps, is there a discussion where it becomes socially acceptable to joke about laughing at things like “Wanker, Jackass, and the toilet?” Perhaps you watch movies like “Step Brothers” and laugh at everyone else too, but it’s more okay to laugh at others who laugh at those films. It is all slightly more acceptable. Does anyone else notice a pattern emerging here?