Movie Review Rewind: Our Idiot Brother (2011)
Our Idiot Brother sneaks up on you. Before you know it, you find yourself completely engaged in the film with a smile that won’t leave your face. It is such a sweet little movie with a very caring lead character. You just cannot help but fall in love with it. Paul Rudd, with a great supporting cast of talented women, brings this good-natured story to life. It is obvious that Rudd has this likability factor that keeps the audience laughing right along with him, and it’s his performance that keeps this whole thing together.
Ned (Rudd) is a hippie with a heart of gold. He is gullible for sure, but has faith in the honesty of mankind. He tries to live a trouble-free life and is laid back about everything. But, it is his trust in people that ends up getting him into trouble and puts him in jail. And once he gets out, his girlfriend kicks him off their organic farm and he is left with no choice but to rotate living with his three sisters: Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer).
Unlike Ned, his sisters have grown up and have their routines, but that doesn’t mean they are nearly as happy as he is. Ned has the best of intentions, but his dedication to honesty creates a huge mess in all of their lives. However, through all of the chaos, his family realizes that they, not Ned, were the idiots this entire time.
Director Jesse Peretz tells a story about family dysfunction that has never been told in this way before. He keeps the comedy on a comfortable pace and actually brings a lot of laughs with it. It is a movie that stays away from being dark or vulgar, but chooses to be endearing and full of charm with a nice message about family, truthfulness, and acceptance. It is vitalizing to see a film that shows a character who is so honest with himself and has his heart in the right place.
This film would not be as clever or hilarious without Rudd. He plays a guy who really loves life. And while it may be a blessing and a curse, Ned believes in people and is optimistic about them making the right decisions. Rudd seems so perfect for the part that I can’t imagine anyone else playing it. His whole demeanor and approach works and his character may not have common sense, but Rudd knows exactly what he is doing. It looks like he does it with such ease.
I can’t forget about the women in the film. Banks, Deschanel, and Mortimer are fantastic as Ned’s sisters who have always put up with him and have come to his rescue on several occasions. But, they are trying to live their lives.
Ned always seems to be the one in the family who always barges in and interrupts. It is difficult for them to take their brother seriously when it appears he does not take his own life seriously. But their eyes are opened once the truth comes out. While Ned never intended for it to happen, he begins to unravel his sisters’ lives. What starts out as a painful process soon makes them cherish the family they have and the brother they should have appreciated a lot more.
Our Idiot Brother is a pleasant surprise this Summer. Rudd really shines in this more than in maybe any other movie he has been in. He is surrounded by a group of talented actresses that each take command of their own scenes. Steve Coogan plays Ned’s brother-in-law and steals almost every scene he is in, especially in one specific one. You will know which one when you see it. The real beauty of this is that everyone is funny and there are more than a few times where you really will laugh out loud.
Our Idiot Brother may not be brilliant. But, it’s pretty damn smart and entertaining, and makes a lot of other comedies look like the idiots.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.
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