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The Brothers Solomon (2007)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 12/26/2007
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/18/2007
I would never go as far as to say that reviewing movies is easy, but most of the time pointing out the pros and cons of a film isn't all that hard. For most films, the high points and problems of a movie are easy to spot, and I then translate that into reasons why readers would or would not want to see a movie. But, there are some movies which defy truly accurate critiquing. Some films are so bizarre that it's nearly impossible to quantify them and thus it's hard to pass along any solid advice about them, other than the effect that they had on me. The absurd comedy The Brothers Solomon certainly fits this description...and that's about the only description that it fits.
John (Will Arnett) and Dean Solomon (Will Forte) are the titular siblings in The Brothers Solomon. They were raised by their father (Lee Majors) in the Arctic Circle, where they were home-schooled and had little interaction with other people. Despite the fact that they seek romance, their social awkwardness makes it tough for them to get dates. As the film opens, they learn that their Dad is very ill and has gone into a coma. They learn that their father's last wish was to have a grandchild. So, John and Dean decide to find a surrogate. They place an ad on Craig's List and find Janine (Kristen Wiig) who is willing to have their baby, despite the protests of her boyfriend, James (Chi McBride). As Janine's pregnancy advances, the brothers learn that they have a lot of growing up to do.
The above description could easily apply to a serious movie. It could be a moving drama about two lost brothers who wanted to make one final gesture to show their love for their father. This isn't that movie. Instead, The Brothers Solomon may be one of the silliest, absurd, and weirdest movies ever made. And on top of all of those things, it's also often funny.
Can I recommend The Brothers Solomon? I honestly don't know. This certainly isn't a movie which is aimed at a general audience. Fans of more conventional comedies probably won't like the humor in the film. Again, the comedy here comes from a very silly and absurd place. John and Dean may be very sincere, but they are also very naive, and at times, very stupid. And yet, due to the environment in which they were raised, they are both incredibly optimistic and enthusiastic. So, we have main characters who are constantly messing up, but they typically don't realize it, and when they do, they don't let that slow them down. In a way, the film is like Dumb and Dumber, except these guys happen to have PhDs in Geology and they are determined to impregnate a woman.
The unique characteristics of John and Dean could have allowed the story to go in any direction. Having them tending to a pregnant woman and their ailing father leads to some interesting situations. The fact that they aren't good at interacting with others only amplifies the issues which they encounter with Janine and James. The guys decide that they must learn about parenting and the scenes in which they baby-proof their apartment are very funny. But, there is also a great deal of odd humor here. The film was written by Will Forte and it's pretty clear that for many scenes he created the dialogue for John and Dean by thinking of the last thing that any sane person would say.
Bizarre humor aside, one's views towards The Brothers Solomon will most likely rest on how one feels about the cast. I loved Will Arnett on Arrested Development and he's now made a career out of playing characters who are incredibly ignorant and arrogant at the same time and John is no exception. Few actors can bring the kind of energy to spouting non-sense that Arnett can. As for Will Forte, his goofy faces crack me up. I don't know why. If you're annoyed by Kristen Wiig's over-the-top behavior on Saturday Night Live, you'll be pleased to know that she take it down here and she's basically playing straight-man to all of the absurdity around her. It's Chi McBride who nearly steals the show as the angry, yet overly-sensitive James, who is constantly spouting unnecessary profanity.
The Brothers Solomon is the sort of film that I would be tempted to describe as organic, because I laughed throughout the movie, and I was never really sure why. I mean, there's a scene involving a dead animal and a diaper which had me howling, so that either says something about me or the movie. The Brothers Solomon comes from much of the same team which made the unwatchable Let's go to Prison. While that film was unnecessarily mean-spirited, the naive characters in The Brothers Solomon give the movie a somewhat sweet side which soften the blow of some of the crueler jokes. If you are in the mood for a movie which doesn't make any sense, but if somehow humorous, then The Brothers Solomon may be the one for you.
The Brothers Solomon makes a pass at DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Overall, the transfer is OK, but the image isn't without issues. Basically, things look a bit blurred at times and there is noticeable color bleeding around some objects. Also, some shots really lack detail. Other than that, the image is clear, showing no grain or defects from the source material. The colors look fine, most notably blues and reds. I did detect some video noise at times. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a comedy, the bulk of the audio comes from the center and front channels, which do show a nice spectrum of stereo sound. There are occasional surround sound effects, but these mostly occur doing exterior or crowd scenes.
The Brothers Solomon DVD has a small collection of extra features. We start with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Will Forte and Will Arnett. The DVD contains 9 DELETED SCENES which run about 16 minutes. Some of these are completely new, while others are simply longer versions of scenes from the film. There are a couple of funny moments here, but the baby training scene is the best. "Let's do this!" "The Making of The Brothers Solomon" (16 minutes) features comments from the cast and crew, some of which are actually serious. However, for the most part, Forte, Arnett, Odenkirk, Wiig, and McBride simply insult one another. Forte does speak a bit about his writing process and the speakers talk about working with one another on the film. "The Fine Art of Creatng a Specimen" (3 minutes) is a pointless segment where Arnett, Forte, and Wiig have an odd conversation about sperm donation.
Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long