Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 17 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
The Brothers Solomon
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
The biblical Solomon was the wise king who returned an infant to its biological mother by correctly gauging the reactions of the two contenders for the child. There is no such wisdom in this weak Screen Gems effort except the hijacking of the name for another competition over a baby.
Newly comatose Ed Solomon (Lee Majors) has previously revealed to his doctor that his one regret in life is not having a grandchild. Arriving at the hospital minutes too late to hear this for themselves because they were disputing a late video rental charge, home- schooled nerd sons John (Will Arnett) and Dean (Will Forte) embark on a procreational quest for dear old dad.
Raised in the Arctic, and with the social skills and logic to prove it, the two clueless brothers, complete with vacant smiles but sincere blue eyes, bumble and misstep their way on the path to a productive uterus. John and Dean are somewhat reminiscent of the ultra-polite gophers in the old Warner Brothers cartoons. With lobotomized, almost enraptured expressions on their faces, they gaze into each other’s eyes so lovingly that you expect a romantic kiss to occur.
Sexy neighbor Tara (Malin Ackerman) has caught John’s eye but remains cold and superficial, thoroughly unworthy of any type of real consideration. A cookie cutter blonde, taller than average, with wide-set eyes - a type you know quite well and could probably draw in your sleep, is presented as the Holy Grail of fertility. Would you suck someone’s watery footprint after they emerged from a hot tub? That’s literally a wet dream for John Solomon. Even the assumption that audience members would understand this sort of crude, bestial behavior illustrates that the film is trying for the lowest common denominator in collective audience I.Q.
The boys make other attempts at finding willing baby machines. They date; they alienate, and finally turn to the ubiquitous Craig’s List for help. That’s how they come upon Janine (Kristen Wiig) who is willing to take on the nine-month adventure for $12,000. She was willing to do it for $10,000, but John somehow talked her “up.”
Only one brother has any real sperm motility, but there’s nothing normal or natural in the way they go about trying to impregnate Janine. The asexual duo gets cozy with Dixie cups and pornographic material. One week later, and the deed has been clinically accomplished. The brothers attend ultrasound sessions and baby-proof their apartment. Coma-Dad is still beeping away in the corner.
Janine has an ex-boyfriend, James (Chi McBride), a large militant African-American with a chip on his shoulder. He disputes, and then proves several stereotypes about black men except one. He remains by Janine’s side throughout her pregnancy and the couple is reunited in devotion and stability.
Not surprisingly, Janine starts having doubts about handing her baby over. And when the inevitable sibling rivalry rears its head, there’s a short-lived conflict between John and Dean, and more time to exhale deeply in boredom while cheering on the approach of that third trimester. Pop that kid already and let’s get out of here.
During all this, Tara the unattainable has suddenly turned into a nurse for Dad, who has been moved, along with millions of dollars of expensive life support equipment into the boys’ apartment. Where are these moronic types coming up with all the dough, you ask? It seems that all of those years in the Arctic have made them first-rate geologists who can phone in their reports for big bucks. Problem solved. Tara will later fade out of the film completely and you’ll barely notice.
Kristin Wiig provides the heart and conscience of the film, but there’s not enough of her to counteract the illogical escapades of the Solomons and their mis-conceptions (pun intended).
Chi McBride breathes some life into the sluggish proceedings with his snappy attitude. His dialogue is quick, to the point and always humorous, but one man can’t save a misguided vehicle from a sure crash and burn.
Lee Majors came into some easy money on this one. In a coma for 99% of the film, he had only to go through some adventures in beard makeup variations and eye control (lots of lid twitch in close-ups), most of it lying down amid beeping machines. It appears that the Bionic Man’s insides have migrated to the outside.
Arnett and Forte are almost interchangeable here. You want to like them, but they are just too ridiculous to support. Along with their cluelessness comes the ability to be offensive (but not really mean it). Fat women, Asians, the mentally disabled and African Americans all take a hit, and the two grin right through it like they got away with something.
Forte’s script lingers on jokes and gags for an excruciating amount of time. Pacing is a problem. Long does not always mean deep, slow rarely means clever, homo-erotic undertones should not be relied upon as a sure hoot in an otherwise brain-dead venture.
Director Bob Odenkirk, (Let’s Go To Prison) is content to let the script carry a lot of the action and it falls flat in many places. Tighter editing could have made up for some of the uncomfortable silences that follow a scene that’s gone on too long. You won’t find it here.
Arnett, Forte, Wiig and Odenkirk all have ties to SNL and short format skits which have to peak quickly or die. Here we have what seem to be several long skits that don’t know when to end and go out with a whimper, or worse, dead air.
The weak ending is supposed to tie everything up neatly, but can’t contain the mess of the previous 93 minutes. There are some mild surprises, but you might find yourself wanting to join old Ed Solomon in his vegetative state rather than predict what they might be.
Even two Wills can’t make a way for this moronic premise to succeed.