Movie Review #667
The Weinstein Company & Big Breach present…
Producer: Big Breach — Likely Story
Studio: Yuk Film
Distributor: Senator Film — The Weinstein Company — United Talent Agency (UTA)
Spoken Languages: English
Directed by Jesse Peretz. Produced by Anthony Bregman, Peter Saraf, and Marc Turtletaub. Story by Jesse Peretz & Evgenia Peretz & David Schisgall. Screenplay by Evgenia Peretz & David Schisgall.
Rated R by the MPAA – sexual content, nudity, frequent language. Runs 1 hour, 30 minutes. Premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2011; at Jerusalem Film Festival on July 8, 2011; and in Hollywood, California on August 16, 2011. Wide release in the USA on August 26, 2011.
Starring Paul Rudd, Francesca Papalia, Bob Stephenson, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Steve Coogan, T.J. Miller, Shirley Knight, Matthew Mindler, Hugh Dancy, and Janet Montgomery.
“Our Idiot Brother” is what you get when you take certain lovable elements from “The Big Lebowski” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. It’s not a stoner comedy but a fish out of water comedy, set in a dysfunctional family, where the pivotal point seems to be something that we would never think to appreciate so much as the hero. For the Dude, that was the rug. For Ned (Paul Rudd), it’s his dog, Willie Nelson. Ned is beside his dog even when he’s arrested for selling marijuana to a cop. And then they part ways. Has he lost love, or has he found it in another form? is the question now faced. Ned lets out of gaol eight months later, only to find himself fired by his own girlfriend. He moves in with his two sisters, and…well, his idealistic mind is beset by his rambling mouth, and he’s thus labeled the idiot of the family.
This is a solid comedy-drama we’re dealing with. “Our Idiot Brother” is only as quirky as it is sweet. The script is thoroughly good-natured, and even if it gets overly caught up in that sentimentality (which makes for several slow moments), it works genuinely with its audience. Paul Rudd channels his character as an interesting bloke; he ends up transforming himself in the finishing moments, when he proves that he may indeed be the only one in the family who ISN’T an “idiot.” What follows is one unrealistic note after another to wrap up the film. Even so, it’s as if we don’t need a sense of reality to feel for these characters.