A Most Unexpected Comedy

A friend of mine recently stated that he does not care for most comedies because he always sees the punchline coming. In order for him to enjoy a comedy, he must be surprised by the joke. In that case, I truly believe that he would LOVE The Brothers Solomon.

The titular brothers, John (Will Arnett, Arrested Development) and Dean (Will Forte, Saturday Night Live), were raised by their father (Lee Majors, The Six Million Dollar Man, of course) in the Arctic, having moved there on a whim after the death of their mother. As a result of their isolation, their social skills leave much to be desired. This proves to be a problem when it comes to dating. When their father falls into a coma, after expressing a desire for grandchildren, the brothers surmise that the only way to save him is to become fathers themselves. But how?! Cue the socially awkward hyjinks!

I admit, the premise sounds a bit iffy and sitcom-esque. In the wrong hands, it could have been catastrophic. But scribe, Will Forte, pulls it off and manages to create a comedy that is at once irreverent, uncomfortable and even somewhat heartwarming. Forte and Arnett deliver potentially disastrous jokes with perfect timing and even a little depth.

They want to put a baby in you.

The hilarity begins with the opening credits: A simple matter of the Wills popping their heads in and out of frame and making faces to the tune of the Flaming Lips “Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”. Again, something that could have fallen flat, but the face-making mastery of the Wills had the tears of laughter streaming down my face before one word of dialog was spoken.

Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live, Knocked Up, Walk Hard) plays the straight role, against type, as the woman who dares to carry the Solomon seed for money. This may be one of the film's only disappointments, as her dry witty delivery is somewhat squandered in a role that could have gone to any un-funny actress.

This is the third feature film directed by ex-Mr. Show co-creator, Bob Odenkirk. While I practically worshiped the Mr. Show oeuvre, and loved Odenkirk's short films (The Pity Card series, The Frank International Film Festival), I was yet to be impressed by his feature work. Melvin Goes to Dinner was interesting, but the characterization felt forced. Drama is not Odenkirk’s forte. Let's Go to Prison was great in concept, and starred the usually flawless Will Arnett. However, its fatal shortcoming was that it also heavily featured comedic downer, Dax Shepherd. That guy is just not at all funny.

But with The Brothers Solomon, (due, in no small part, to the writing talent of Will Forte), Bob Odenkirk has finally returned to his Mr. Show-level perfection. And thank god. I was really starting to worry.

X-Posted from the Reel.