There are two Wills in “The Brothers Solomon,” but there’s still no way it’s a remotely good movie. Or even a mediocre one. This is a dismally unfunny comedy; the degree of awfulness can be imagined by the fact that the idea behind it was apparently rejected for a sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” Consider the enormity of that—turned down for SNL, a show that hasn’t been funny for fifteen years. And the movie turns out to be so bad it might make you nostalgic for another SNL dumb duo farce, “A Night at the Roxbury,” lousy as it was. Even the opening credits, featuring a parade of close-ups of the two leering stars, are dreadful.
The script by Will Forte casts himself and Will Arnett as siblings Dean and John Solomon, a couple of socially inept, doofus guys who agree to seek a woman to bear a grandchild that will bring joy to their terminally ill father (Lee Majors) and perhaps keep him alive until the kid arrives. After a couple of failed attempts to convince women to marry them—one played, in a pathetic cameo, by the talented Jenna Fischer (Pam of “The Office”)—they hire a surrogate, Janine (Kristen Wing). Add to the mix her burly boyfriend (Chi McBride) and a sexy next-door neighbor (Malin Akerman) that John is hot for but is only interested in helping the duo care for their dad, and you have just about everything the movie has to offer in the way of plot: the rest of the picture just follows the pregnancy and the two idiots’ efforts to prepare themselves for being joint fathers.
Not that Forte, Arnett, and fumbling director Bob Odenkirk seem to care much about plot in any logical sense, or much of anything else. “The Brothers Solomon” is really nothing more than a hopelessly feeble comedy sketch cruelly extended to feature length, so terrible that you find yourself hoping—since the script is divided up into the stages of the pregnancy—that this will be the miraculous childbirth that won’t take the full three trimesters to complete.
The operative word here is stupidity—the movie celebrates it, and also obnoxiousness. John and Dean are supposed to be endearingly dumb, one supposes, but they’re less sweetly clueless than appalling. And everything is played in such a sluggish, lackadaisical fashion overall that Forte’s hysterical grinning is all the more gruesome. Forte, by contrast, is utterly bland, virtually disappearing into the screen, and though Wiig and Akerman try to break through, they’re given nothing to deal with. One must pity McBride, who’s compelled to embarrass himself in this picture almost as badly as he did in his last one, the wretched “Let’s Go to Prison” (also starring Arnett and directed by Odenkirk). The only cast member who comes through nearly unscathed is Majors, whose character—good luck for him—goes through virtually the entire movie comatose.
The material gets the treatment it deserves from the crew. Tim Suhrstedt’s cinematography is garish, and Tracey-Wadmore-Smith’s editing is flaccid, with almost every sequence extended beyond its shelf life. But she can’t be blamed too much; the closing crawls demonstrate that the deleted scenes, some of which are included (along with some bloopers), were—wonder of wonders—even worse than the ones that made the final cut.
Completing the sad package is one of the worst background scores in the history of film, a bunch of moronically upbeat a cappella “Swinger Singers”-style ditties credited to John Swihart (buttressed by a bad collection of eighties pop tunes). There’s some justice, though, in that the music accompanies one of the worst scripts ever committed to celluloid.