Our Idiot Brother
- Director:Jesse Peretz
- Cast:Elizabeth Banks, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Paul Rudd
- Release Date:November 03, 2011
- Running time:90 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Surrounded by caricatures and a bit of schmaltz, this comedy is bolstered by a charismatic lead performance from Paul Rudd.
While completely different films stylistically, Jesse Peretz' Our Idiot Brother centres on a character similar in spirit to Sally Hawkins' irrepressible Poppy in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky. Here, it's Ned (Paul Rudd), a cheerful hippie so trusting that he sells a bag of weed to a uniformed police officer who's had a "tough week." Released from a short stint in the clinker (high spirits intact), Ned finds himself homeless, and winds up crashing on the couches of each of his three sisters: bisexual wannabe comedian, Natalie (Zooey Deschanel); anxious overworked mum, Liz (Emily Mortimer); and corporate bombshell, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks). As the farce of the sisters' happy lives begins to unravel, each points the finger at their, well, idiot brother.
With a screenplay that Peretz (The Chateau, The Ex) worked on with his sister and her husband, and a stellar cast, this plays out like a studio comedy laced with indie sensibilities. Peretz' major trump card is the immensely likable Paul Rudd, and the film rests heavily on its lead's charisma, which he delivers in spades. In a lesser actor's hand, Ned could have easily become trite or one-dimensional, but Rudd turns in a rich and layered performance. It's disappointing then that the script sometimes renders Ned's sisters as caricatures rather than real people, but the fine actresses each lend credibility to their parts.
Occasionally lapsing into soft and sentimental territory, for the most part, this is a rambunctiously enjoyable exploration of grown-up sibling relations punctuated by moments of insight. The laughs are also always underpinned by the genuine question of where a man as upbeat, idealistic and trusting as Ned fits into this world. Is it he that needs to change? For those who answer the latter in the affirmative, perhaps that says more about ourselves, and the times that we live in, than it does about Ned.