John (Will Arnett) and his brother Dean (Will Forte) would like little better than to get girlfriends, but since their background was deeply unconventional (homeschooled at the North Pole) they have ended up rather eccentric in their demeanour. They're cheery chappies certainly, but women tend to find their overenthusiasm off-putting, as for example John takes to paying for the groceries of ladies he wishes to attract, and John makes the fatal mistake of going on a blind date and kissing the girl's father before he's kissed her. Once back at the apartment they share, they receive a shocking message on their answerphone...
Yes, they are being charged for an overdue video of Ulee's Gold when they've actually paid for it a while ago. And as if that wasn't bad enough, their father (Lee Majors) is in a coma. If you know that the production secured the services of the Six Million Dollar Man then had him lying in bed unconscious for 99% of the movie, then you'll have some idea of the sense of humour in Will Forte's script, with not everyone getting along with the relentless stupidity, especially when many were comparing The Brothers Solomon to Dumb and Dumber and finding it coming up lacking. Yet if you could put all thoughts of Jim Carrey to one side, this was very funny.
In its own right that is, though admittedly you couldn't envisage it getting made if Dumb and Dumber had never existed - someone holding the purse strings must have thought, "Ah-hah - cash-in!" when this was set in motion. Luckily there were a selection of comic talents both in front of and behind the camera, with the director Bob Odenkirk having made his name, as many of them did, in television: the legendary sketch show Mr Show was where he rose to prominence, though now he'd be best known for box set marathon-friendly TV series Breaking Bad. Arnett had been genuinely hilarious in his breakout role in cult sitcom Arrested Development, and Forte had written the screenplay in his typically anything goes fashion.
Forte being one of those Saturday Night Live performers, as was leading lady Kristen Wiig playing Janine, the mug who agrees to bear the brothers a child in return for a sizable cheque, and all so their dad can see a grandchild before he shuffles off the old mortal coil. This was one of those comedies which essentially followed around a weirdo, or in this case two weirdos, and gauged the potential laughter of seeing how the normal people they encountered reacted to them, so there were a lot of politely (and not so politely) puzzled faces in this movie. Some times this is more successful than others: watch the revulsion Tom Green's Freddy Got Fingered bred in the audiences for a disastrous misjudgement.
In this instance, it would be a pity to lump The Brothers Solomon in with the disasters, although it was a complete flop on its initial cinema release, and barely caught on once it had reached the television. If you wanted to enjoy ridiculous humour with an adult bent this might well entertain, many of the jokes were near the knuckle but the cluelessness of the two siblings offered more chuckles than gags which fell flat. Some would argue they went too far in their search for material, but it was the imbalance between what our heroes carry out what in other circumstances would be perfectly ordinary goals and the ludicrous lengths they went to in that process which amused. Chi McBride showed up as Janine's sweary boyfriend who gets to accept the Solomons, Malin Akerman was the next door neighbour John courts to her utter indifference, but it was really the double act at the heart of it all that conjured a parody of all those feelgood dramadies which the makers of this would evidently run a mile from. Great creepy/funny titles too. Music by John Swihart.