I will admit that I went into Our Idiot Brother a bit skeptical. I have seen one too many comedies that are just plain stupid. They are not that funny, and the trailers for the films usually have the funniest moments. You are left with a bad film that you might chuckle a few times in, but, in the end, wish you had not spent money to see.
I was pleasantly surprised with this comedy. It has a lot of heart and wisdom to it. You are presented with a character like Ned (Paul Rudd) who looks like a total hippie (he is) and the trailer for the film makes you think he is totally stupid, a surprise is in store for you. At the beginning of the film, Ned is arrested for selling weed to a cop in uniform. This sets the standard for him being called an idiot. Ned gets sent to jail for several months. He comes back to the farm he was living on to find his girlfriend Janet (Kathryn Hahn) living with a new guy, Billy (TJ Miller), and won’t give him his dog Willie Nelson back. He has no money, but makes his way to his mom’s house (Shirley Knight) and reconnects with his family and his three sisters. Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is a writer for Vanity Fair. Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is a wannabe comic bisexual with a quite manly hipster girlfriend, Cindy (Rashida Jones). Liz (Emily Mortimer) is a full-time mom to two kids and is married to a documentary filmmaker (Steve Coogan). Ned ends up bouncing around to the three sisters’ residences, bumming some money off them, a place to sleep, and even the occasional odd job. Ned end up “helping” them to realize what is wrong in their lives, even if it is from Ned’s acts that come from ignorance.
Like I mentioned before, Ned is a little ignorant to what is going on in the world around him. He is very gullible. He plainly states what he has seen or heard without knowing what was really going on. He does not go too deep in thinking about certain events. He is one of those people who likes to believe that all people are good, no matter how they have acted towards him. Very simply, Ned and how Paul Rudd plays him is what is going to set this comedy apart from others you have seen. I could see a Will Ferrell-type actor playing the same role in a different way than Paul Rudd did, leading to a very idiotic, annoying comedy. Paul Rudd is the best thing about the film, hands down.
The other actors are the frosting on this cake. Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, and Emily Mortimer are unique in their portrayals of their characters. So much so that I could not really believe they could be sisters with each actress being so different. Their characters are entertaining and funny, especially Deschanel, but I could not really see them being sisters from the same family.
The supporting cast is pretty great. Rashida Jones as Natalie’s girlfriend is pretty hilarious. She wears these geeky eighties glasses and Bermuda shorts with a shirt and jacket. She’s like a hipster, butch lesbian. Hugh Dancy looks unrecognizable as another hipster. He is a painter that uses Zooey Deschanel’s character as a nude model. Steve Coogan plays a bad husband who wants the best for his kids in the competitive NYC school admission process. He is also making a documentary about a Russian ballerina that turns out to be more than just a film. Steve Coogan quite literally has balls in this film. No seriously, you get to see his balls.
I really enjoyed Our Idiot Brother. The film has a lot laughs and a lot of heart which is unique for comedies these days. I have to admire a film that makes the row of guys behind me moan and yell “Ewwww!” during a scene. Paul Rudd and his character Ned are the best part of this movie. The film turned this stupid comedy hater into a skeptic because this film was more than meets the eye. It is a prime example of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I would encourage everyone to see Our Idiot Brother and be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
P.S. Stay seated for the end credits. There are bloopers that run through them. There is even an Anchorman shout-out from Paul Rudd.
I give Our Idiot Brother 4 “Willie Nelsons”out of 5.