It isn't a particularly easy task to make an R-rated comedy that doubles as a heartfelt drama, but "Our Idiot Brother" is more than capable of delivering that rare raunch-fest that contains characters who we identify with and even love, situations that at least feel somewhat real, and dramatic turning points that are sappy and sentimental yet never too difficult to bear. And since the film succeeds at doing all this, yes, I thought it was pretty solid; not to mention funny, touching, and surprisingly genuine. No, it isn't anything near masterful, but I enjoyed it for what it was and in turn thought it was pretty entertaining.
The titular idiot is Ned (Paul Rudd). He's a lovable loser who never means harm but seems to always end up in situations seldom suited for his overall good-nature. The film opens with the natural-born-charmer selling vegetables from his garden at a market. Much to his surprise, a police officer comes up to his stand and asks Ned if he happens to be in possession of any cannabis. At first, the hero is smart; and declines. Then, the officer turns the tables by explaining why he is in need of the drugs; and so Ned reveals his secret stash and ends up selling a bag of his hidden products to guy. He is then arrested.
However, Ned doesn't stay in jail for too long; it isn't his kind of environment, and he has a positive influence on the fellow inmates (it's called "model behavior"). So in about eight months, he is released. The first place he thinks of going is his girlfriend's (Kathryn Hahn) place; but arrives to the unexpected surprise of a new boyfriend (T.J. Miller). Ned's girl insists on keeping their dog Willie Nelson, and sends the protagonist off elsewhere.
The next place Ned can think of when it comes to staying somewhere and being content with it is his mother's house. It is there that he has a nice family dinner with mother, his three sisters, and whatever children they have. At first, they are all very glad to have Ned back home with them, but things will soon be different; oh yes, they shall.
A big part of the film is the three sisters. There's Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) - who works as a journalist for Vanity Fair - ; Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) - an openly bisexual and independent woman who lives with her current girlfriend (Rashida Jones) - ; and finally, there is Liz (Emily Mortimer) - perhaps the friendliest of the sisters (at first), who is happily married to documentary filmmaker Dylan (Steve Coogan).
When Ned arrives, life changes drastically; sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worst. When he's alone with one person or another, that other person usually reveals a good deal of precious, personal information to Ned; and he isn't good when it comes to keeping secrets. Eventually, each individual secret becomes one big problem; and soon, the sisters have turned on their own brother, who is helplessly lost in his own innocence.
But alas, this does not make the sisters "mean" or "bad people"; they are stressed, and can only take so much of Ned at a time. He doesn't quite get this, and is forever naïve of their frustration. By the end, the problems are resolved and the family is happy once again; as formula plots must work in this way, but it made be feel secure and warm inside to have such an upbeat resolution to the appropriately familiar but endearing story.]
I think what impressed me the most here was Rudd. This is easily one of my favorite performances from the actor; and he has, indeed, had quite a few that I really enjoyed. But this one just takes the cake; it puts him in a leading role and allows him to be as funny, resonant, and empathetic as possible. He's the center of the movie; the icing on the cake. And while there are plenty of reasons why you should see "Our Idiot Brother" - the cast, the humor, the heart - Rudd is the one thing that you might just take away from the experience.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER Written by David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz Directed by Jesse Peretz Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer Ned: I like to think that if you put your trust out there, that if you really give people the benefit of the doubt, see their best intentions, people will rise to the occasion. Paul Rudd is practically perfect as Ned, the title character in Jesse Peretz’s Sundance breakout, OUR IDIOT BROTHER. The ownership in … more
By Joan Alperin-Schwartz Paul Rudd is Ned Rochlin, an organic farmer, who sees the good in everyone. So when a policeman comes up to him at a local Farmers Market and begs Ned to sell him some weed, he's only to happy to oblige. Afterall, Ned felt sorry for the cop, who said he was suffering from job-related stress. Now what does Ned get for this act of compassion? He gets busted and sent to prison, of course. … more
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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