Movie Review: Our Idiot Brother

Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd is Ned, the titular idiot in the new comedy Our Idiot Brother.  Ned is not so much an idiot as he is a wide eyed, lovable, trusting goof that you simply can’t help but adore.  Our Idiot Brother is similar… it’s not idiotic, it’s not quite the raunch-fest its R rating would suggest… it’s sweet.  It’s lovable.  It’s adorable in its own way.  It’s a life lesson about trusting people and being happy… and an opportunity to see Steve Coogan’s balls.

The film opens with Ned working at the farmer’s market, selling organic produce from the farm he and his girlfriend run, as a uniformed policeman tries to buy some weed from our bearded hero.  After playing dumb, the cop pulls out the sob story, and Ned, being the good guy he is, sells him a bag and finds himself in jail.

From there, we meet Ned’s three sisters, his mother and his now ex-girlfriend.  Zooey Deschanel is Nat, his slutty sister who is currently in a relationship with Rashida Jones and trying to become a stand up comedian, Elizabeth Banks is Miranda, the high strung Vanity Fair writer about to get her big break,  Emily Mortimer is Liz, a housewife to a pretentious documentarian (Steve Coogan), his mother Ilene (Shirley Jones), never far from her white wine and finally, Janet (Kathryn Hahn), the super feminist/pacifist girlfriend who found another stoned bearded guy to help her with the farm while Ned was in jail.  These are the women in Ned’s life.

As the film rolls along we get a feel for each of the aforementioned characters and their relationships with Ned, their significant others’ lives and most importantly, Ned’s relationship with Willie Nelson… his dog.

As Ned tries to get back onto his feet he finds himself coming into each of their lives and in one way or another, finding himself in the midst of every problem his sisters have going on and eventually, blamed for everything going wrong in their lives.  Is he at fault?  No… they just aren’t on the same wavelength as Ned… until they are.

Our Idiot Brother is a small movie.  It’s a fun movie with a few genuinely hilarious moments, a few very uncomfortable moments and more than a few heart warming and touching moments.  The actresses playing the three sisters give fantastic performances (Zooey Deschanel seems almost living!) and the supporting cast is wonderful… always a pleasure seeing the glassy eyed T.J. Miller and Adam Scott… funny guys.  But this is Paul Rudd’s movie… and he is fantastic as always.  Even hiding behind a big beard and long hair, those twinkly little happy eyes of his and that smile are constantly beaming out at you… which only makes it harder when things are not going well for Ned.

Should you rush out to see this in the theater?  There are no explosions, no action set pieces, no larger than life visuals… I would say this is perfect DVD or cable fare.  Don’t take that as a knock on Our Idiot Brother either… this is a wonderful film… small and cozy… warm and inviting.

Gotta love Willie Nelson,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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