I know what your thinking: "What crazy ass, drunk-on-eggnog movie theorist came up with this one?" Well, it wasn't me, but I wish it were. The theory that Elf is the prequel to Step Brothers was concocted by @BarstoolTrent, writer for Barstool Sports, while watching Elf on a continual loop to celebrate the holiday. It was during the 786th viewing of the movie that it dawned on Trent that Buddy's stepmom in #Elf (played by Mary Steenburgen) was the same actress that played Brennan's mom in #StepBrothers, which lead Trent to theorize that it is entirely possible that Buddy's stepmom got divorced, obtained full custody of Buddy, renamed him Brennan, and remarried, which lead to Brennan and Dale becoming stepbrothers. Holy #CatalinaWineMixer, Batman! Mind. Blown.
Let's delve a little deeper into this theory and see if there is any merit to Trent's theory that Buddy the Elf became Brennan the stepbrother.
Did Buddy's Stepmom Have A Reason To Get A Divorce?
In order for this theory to work, Buddy's stepmom would need a reason to call it quits with her hubby (played by James Caan). I don't see this as an impossible situation if we look at the facts. Fact #1: James Cann plays a ruthless children's book editor that doesn't care if the books he approves are left without an ending. Fact #2: He's too busy to be bothered by a wife and kid. Fact #3: Although everything looks great by the end of the movie for Buddy's family, if we've learned anything from the greatest Christmas love story ever told (as told in Die Hard) by the third movie it's splitsville for the couples. That means that not only did Buddy's stepmom break up with her husband, but so did Buddy with Jovie (played by Zooey Deschanel).
Which Came First: 'Elf' Or 'Step Brothers'?
Believe it or not, Elf was released on November 7, 2003 and Step Brothers was released on July 25, 2008. So there you have it, the way in which the movies were released appears to support them being sequential. The five year span of time between movies also helps to substantiate there being enough time for Buddy's step mom to move on. It's an old movie trick when sequential movies are released years apart because it allows the audience to make sense of a jarring reveal from a previous film. For example, at the end of Episode I: The Phantom Menace Anakin Skywalker is portrayed by Jake Lloyd, but in Episode II: Attack Of The Clones he's portrayed by Hayden Christensen.
Your Voice Is Like A Combination Of Fergie And Jesus
One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle, other than Buddy and Brennan having the same mom, is that they both like to sing.
Trent acknowledges that in Step Brothers Brennan is shy to sing, but in Elf he doesn't care who hears him, which looks like a potential flaw in the theory. However, it is explained that in Step Brothers that Brennan lost his confidence as a singer because his younger brother, Derek, pulled a prank on Brennan while he was singing. Since Step Brothers comes after Elf, it makes sense that Buddy didn't care who heard him singing because he wasn't pranked yet.
Are There Other Similarities? Of Course!
Both Buddy and Brennan have a younger brother.
Brennan use to work at PetSmart and Buddy loves animals.
The biggest similarity between Brennan and Buddy is that they both played by #WillFerrell, young at heart and have a tough time adjusting to the outside world. Think about it: Brennan thought it was acceptable to wear a tux to a job interview, and Buddy thought it was alright to buy his dad a pair of women's underwear as a gift. Buddy loves to eat junk food and so does Brennan. Stop trying to deny it — they are one in the same, there is no doubt about it.