Its a little early to be writing to Father Christmas but when I do I'm going to ask him for Will Ferrell to make some more 'serious' movies, another Stranger than Fiction, because his last few efforts at the crazy, funny, early ones are really dying on their ass. It doesn't mean I want him to stop doing the funny, its just without following the Jim Carrey path he may end up following the Martin Lawrence path. As for John C Reilly, you're a serious actor. Try doing that again sometime.
In something of a re-teaming after the dissappointing Talladega Nights (especially dissapointing when compared to the comedy gold of Anchorman) Will and John are Brennan and Dale. A pair of loser kids who never grew up, still living with their respective parents even though they're 39 and 40. When Brennans mum marries Dales dad the two become step brothers and tease, torment and kick and punch each other like all good step brothers do. Then they become friends, then they fall out. Repeat.
In a recent review for The Love Guru a critic questioned whether you should have ever found Mike Myers funny. Sadly its a question that can be re-raised for Will Ferrell in this awful, unfunny movie. There are some laughs to be had but they're so few and far between its becomes a painful experience. Funnily enough (pun intended) the best scenes are actually when the two brothers are seperated, because when together they are exactly the same character, which means that Will or John might as well have just monologued every bit.
The main problem with the film (how many times have I used that phrase over the past 129 movie reviews) is that the characters are obnoxious, idiots suffering severe arrested development. Compare that to the loveable, naive Elf and the distinction is clear. Will's child like innocence is funny when he's nice, when he's nasty he's just a dick. What may have saved this film would have been Mr. Ferrell and Mr. Reilly playing George and Jeb Bush. Now theres two brothers, nasty dicks, that they could have really nailed.