Step Brothers: What Not To Do in a Job Interview

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers. Sony Pictures.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Step Brothers, which was released in theaters 10 years ago today, you will know that there’s at least one, albeit extreme, life lesson included – what not to do in a job interview.

Life goes haywire for Dale Doback and Brennan Huff at the start of the film when their parents, Robert and Nancy, meet at a conference, fall in love and get married. The pair are thrust together in the same house and even have to share a bedroom. Although this is a common occurrence for a lot of children in modern families these days, the main difference here is that Dale and Brennan are 40-year-old men.

Sibling Rivalry

Things get off to a rough, and hilarious, start for the new step brothers, played by John C. Reilly (Dale) and Will Ferrell (Brennan), who were brought together not only by circumstance but by their sheer and utter laziness. Each has lived with his respective parent his whole life and they despise each other on sight, which eventually culminates in a knock-down, drag-out fight on their parent’s lawn, the repercussions of which include a TV ban during Shark Week. But even worse, they both have to find a job.

That same day, after a family dinner, Dale punches Brennan’s egotistical, ass-hat brother Derek (Adam Scott) in the face, gaining Brennan’s respect and the two discover they have much more in common than not. “Did we just become best friends?” Brennan asks. “Yep!” Dale replies.

Dale’s long-suffering father Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Brennan’s mom Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) pull some strings and get the two man-childs job interviews at several potential workplaces. For anyone who has ever been on lot of job interviews, watching the two of them show up wearing tuxedos, interviewing as a team, pushing people out of their way as they strut through a reception area and Dale yelling, “We’re here to f*ck sh*t up!” will find this scene extremely cathartic.

The Interviews

Their actual interviews should be used as training for what not to do in a job interview. They ask one prospective employer how much money he makes before taxes. He tells them he’s not comfortable answering the question. Then Brennan says he has to answer because “we’re doing the interview now, not you.”

In another meeting, without any prompting, they volunteer their unprofessional, appalling weaknesses: “I am no good before 11 a.m. We are no good in an office environment. I take stuff. I have a weakness for sweets. We are slow learners and we’re not particularly good listeners.”

At one point, Brennan tells Pam, the HR Manager (Gillian Vigman) to, “please shut your mouth, shut your, shut your mouth, you’re coming off as stupid.”

“I’m coming off as stupid?” she replies. “You’re wearing tuxedos to a job that requires you to clean bathrooms.”

Speaking of which, Dale probably should have used the washroom facilities before the pair’s final interview, and lets out what begins as a bit of gas that turns into a whistling, rambling fart. The Store Manager (Seth Rogan) asks, “Did you just fart?” Dale shakes his head no. “Yes you did,” the manager says, “I can taste it on my tongue.”

Inevitably, the pair return home, jobless.

Obviously, they go to extremes in Step Brothers, but you can be sure I will smile and think of Dale and Brennan and what not to do the next time I’m in a job interview. Happy 10th Anniversary, Step Brothers.

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