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THE STEPS (#TIFF15 Review)

tiff-40-blueTHE STEPS

Directed by Andrew Currie

Starring Jason Ritter, Emmanuelle Chriqui and James Brolin

There is nothing wrong with lighter fare in cinema. The only problem is that the light films often tend to be the most forgettable. Unfortunately, this continues to be the case with Andre Currie’s THE STEPS, an ensemble comedy that does not leave viewers with much to think on once the credits roll.

Jason Ritter and Emmanuelle Chriqui star as Jeff and Marla, two siblings living in New York. One day the twosome are invited to visit their father Ed (James Brolin) and his new wife Sherry (Christine Lahti) at their Northern Ontario cottage. Though initially hesitant, Jeff and Marla travel to Canada to meet their new stepmother. Upon their arrival they are informed that they will also be meeting their three new stepbrothers as well. Essentially we get a house full of steps, hence the title.


For most of its running time, THE STEPS is basically just a bunch of people yelling at each other. This works in some films, like WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, but those screaming matches are laced with incredible dialogue coming from the mouths of acting icons. In this case we just have the characters fighting over trivial matters in a less than eloquent fashion.

The film is not devoid of laughter, but its jokes never get much deeper than references to Marla performing oral sex on members of Nickelback. As expected, these characters go from hating each other to realizing that they are a family. In the end, it’s all very schmaltzy.

You cannot blame Currie for trying to make a fun little film. He succeeds in the sense that THE STEPS is a nice excursion, but it does not go any further than that.

2.5 sheep

THE STEPS screens at TIFF15 as part of the Contemporary World Cinema program. This is the screening information:

Monday, September 14, 10:15 PM, Scotiabank Theatre 11

Thursday, September 17, 9:00 PM, Scotiabank Theatre 8

For more information and for tickets, please visit



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