You’ll have excuse when I say I don’t get my hopes up when I go to see comedies starring members of the Saturday Night Live cast. Too often the movie is beyond stupid and they always try way too hard to be funny (case in point, Hot Rod). So sucking it up in the name of artistic integrity, I went to see The Brothers Solomon. I hope you’re happy.
But just as the sun shines on the ass end of a dog now and then, so shall a movie starring SNL hacks and middle-of-the-road comedic actors be good enough to enjoy. Along the lines of Stuart Smalley (an SNL character invented by Al Franken), John Solomon (Will Arnett) and his brother Dean (Will Forte) are freakishly naive dimwits who are completely unaware of their social awkwardness. This theme is revisited time after time with mixed results. On one side, watching a couple of buffoons continually do the dumbest things on earth tends get annoying. On the other side, no matter how many times it’s been done before (see A Night at the Roxbury), watching guys pathetically strike out with the ladies, is always good for a laugh.
It’s also fun to see these idiots come up with plans to overcome situations they have no concept on how to resolve. First, they decide to provide home care to their father Ed (Lee Majors), who had recently slipped into a coma. Buying secondhand, refurbished equipment off of Ebay gives you an idea of the trouble they’re in for. Thankfully, the hottie across the hall, Tara (Malin Akerman), is studying to be a nurse. With that problem mostly resolved, the brothers set their eyes on fulfilling their fathers final wish – making him a grandfather. Proving that you can absolutely get anything you want off of the internet, they strike an agreement with a woman named Janine (Kristen Wiig). For $10,000, she’s willing to incubate their seed in her womb.
The rest of The Brothers Solomon, is then broken up into the three trimesters associated with pregnancy. In each, the brothers ramp up their efforts to ready themselves and their apartment for the baby. Trimester one, they try to understand children, which leads them into some dark, unwanted territory. Trimester two, they completely baby-proof the living quarters. You’ve got to see the lengths they go to, to believe it. Trimester three, they find themselves ready, only to realize Janine isn’t so keen on the whole arrangement any more. Add this to one of the situations the hapless brothers must find a solution to.
For the most part, the movie moves along at a good pace and keeps the jokes flowing. There are times when things get a bit stale, but director Bob Odenkirk manages to steer everything back on track, more often than not. Will Arnett and Will Forte make a perfect combination of clueless siblings, so watching them banter back and forth with their disgustingly high spirits was, for lack of a better word, refreshing. Stealing the show, however, is Chi McBride. He plays Janine’s boyfriend James, a man in desperate need of anger management classes. Every little thing, no matter how petty or insignificant, sets him off. My wife remarked he used more profanity in his limited screen time than I’ve used since she’s known me (that’s 16 years, in case you were wondering).
So if you’re looking for a no-brainer comedy to just be able to laugh at, The Brothers Solomon is the movie for you. It’s not the best comedy out in the theaters (Superbad takes that honor), but it is definitely a good second or third choice. It’s a shame, however, that Lee Majors didn’t play a more important role in the film, but hey, you can’t have everything – unless you’re Bill Gates of course.