The Brothers Solomon Movie Review
The Brothers Solomon is destined to become a movie you find yourself watching on late night cable. As with most "comedies," the laughs are the focus and not the simple plot -- in this case, two home-schooled, degenerate brothers try to find a woman to impregnate in an attempt to fulfill their father's dying wish of having a grandchild. After all, absurd plots make for hilarious scenes, right? No, and the two Wills (Arnett as John and Forte as Dean) suck the life right out of this film with the help of director Bob Odenkirk. You may remember Odenkirk from HBO's Mr. Show with Bob and David or that Seinfeld episode in which Elaine is dating a med student taking his exams and she helps him study in the hopes of dating a doctor. If you watch The Brothers Solomon with your eyes closed (and you are not asleep), you would swear that the stale dialogue spoken in a self-aware, "look at me, I'm saying something funny" tone was coming straight out of Odenkirk's mouth.
What worked for Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber flops in this movie. Arnett and Forte have no sense of comic timing. In fact, there is even a slight pause between dialogue that makes it seem like they are either waiting for a laugh (that never lands) or trying to remember their next line. As the brothers continue their socially-inept dating schemes, they eventually find a woman willing to carry their baby. Of course, that sets up the next 20 minutes of conception and sperm donation jokes and the next hour of the two training to become fathers. You can blame the writing on Forte, if you choose to suffer through Arnett's and Forte's cheers of "Make a baby for Dad on three!" One... Two... Kill me.
Situational comedy is usually supported by the characters, and we need to have some reaction to them -- love 'em or hate 'em. Characters that provoke an emotional reaction tend to draw us in and make us laugh. We can only laugh at true stupidity for a couple of minutes before we start to feel just as dumb. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, The Brothers Solomon has nothing to support it when Arnett and Forte fail us. The film's stylistic technique consists mostly of a three camera setup, providing one wide and two opposing over-the-shoulder shots. While the stupidity might float us through the first ignorant encounter between the two brothers and James -- the angry African-American -- our eyes are glazed over by the time a naked Arnett embraces Forte, begging for a homophobic laugh. But no laughs are to be found here. The Solomon brothers are just too dumb to be funny.
Watch me turn this napkin into comic gold.