A few hours before catching The Brothers Solomon, I was discussing with a friend how depressing Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark (2000) is, when I jokingly said that the only thing more depressing might be having to watch The Brothers Solomon. Unfortunately, I was right.
It’s not that the movie is gloomy or morose, but rather it’s the idea that those involved in making it believed that, in this day and age, this movie was a worthy use of effort, time and money. The Brothers Solomon is such a forgettable, insignificant, pointless comedy that the only reason I can think of for the movie’s existence is the fact that something has to occupy the dump bin at Wal-Mart. Put it this way: As brother acts go, these boys fall way short of the Karamazov, Marx, Smothers or even Dr. Joyce Brothers.
Speaking of brothers, the movie feels like some long lost Farelly Brothers project, and if it is, you can’t blame them for misplacing it. Will Arnett (Blades of Glory) and Saturday Night Live‘s Will Forte play John and Dean Solomon, respectively—two socially incompetent brothers who are completely hopeless when it comes to the opposite sex. It’s not until their father (Lee Majors, who one-ups both Ben Kingsley in Bloodrayne (2005) and Peter O’Toole in Stardust (2007) by getting to play the movie not merely sitting or lying down, but in a coma) falls comatose that the Brothers Solomon decide that the only way to save him is to give him his one wish: to be a grandfather. And so the duo sets out to become fathers.
The movie tries to be of the “lovable loser” variety, the only problem being that these two imbecilic brothers aren’t even what you’d call tolerable, let alone lovable. John, in particular, is a self-centered sleazeball. No matter how many times the script says the brothers are well-meaning or really not all that bad once you get to meet them, they’re really worse than bad. If you can imagine two of the most obnoxious, annoying people in your life who you want absolutely nothing to do with, and then multiply that by 10, then you might start to understand who these guys are.
In the film’s defense, it tries its damnedest to be quirky. But it never really goes anywhere. Sure, it’s a slight departure from the usual flatulence jokes or shots to the groin, but it’s really not all that far removed. The Brothers Solomon is still from the school of “look at me, I’m funny” comedy, with a good dose of forced goofy irreverence. But the worst aspect of the film’s failed attempts at comedy is how formulaic many of the jokes become, with John being absurd and uncouth and Dean being overly placating and cheerful.
However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get at least a couple of chortles out of this movie. The only problem is that now I can’t think of one joke that made me laugh. And this is probably The Brothers Solomon‘s biggest problem: It’s completely and utterly forgettable. Even going for an R rating in what one would assume is an attempt at being a more adult-oriented comedy fails, since the movie never even tries to be offensive or shocking. Instead, it’s completely innocuous.
If you insist on seeing this movie, make sure you do it quick. It’s only playing on one screen in town, which is probably one screen too many. Rated R for language and sexual content.