The Brothers Solomon imagines what might happen if Rod and Todd Flanders grew up and decided to have a surrogate child together. John and Dean Solomon (Will Arnett and Will Forte) were homeschooled into social ineptness by a military father, who instilled in them a preternatural power of positive thinking: Or, as Dean says to him after the great man has fallen ill, “Lookin’ good Dad! Too bad there aren’t coma pageants!”
The rest of the movie is the boys’ attempt to give their father a grandchild to spark him out of his coma. Director Bob Odenkirk (of “Mr. Show” fame) and Forte (who wrote the screenplay) seem to have some ideas here, but they decide to simply string together a bunch of nonsensical skits. Is there some sort of Solomonic wisdom in cutting the baby in half between the two of them, or what will become of the attachment of the surrogate mom to the child. Or, is this just a movie that makes fun of terminal illness? It’s the latter, mostly—an uncomfortably unfunny Dumb and Dumber. Forte and Arnett share more than a few “And then you…TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!” moments.
It’s not just the telegraphed jokes (What, Craig’s List doesn’t have a return policy for unsatisfactory surrogates?). Forte pens an awkward racial subtext with Chi McBride, the boyfriend of the surrogate mom. “So, you assume I’m a janitor just because I’m black!” But—SPOILER ALERT!—he actually is a janitor! Doesn’t that confirm the stereotype, especially after he threatens to beat the hell out them? I mean, isn’t this the Ludacris role in Crash.