OUR IDIOT BROTHER (2011)
Running Time: 90 mins. Rating: 4 Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jesse Peretz
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Cast: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, T.J. Miller, Shirley Knight, Rashida Jones, Hugh Dancy
By the very presence of ‘idiot’ in the title, one might incorrectly surmise that they would be in for another obnoxious, crude and disappointingly flat viewing experience with Paul Rudd’s latest film, OUR IDIOT BROTHER. But, surprisingly that simply is not the case. You’re safe, this is not DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS. Focusing its follies on real life situations and very solid stereotypical archetypes, you might actually learn something valuable in this movie.
The film begins with Ned (Paul Rudd) getting arrested for selling drugs to a uniformed officer. Ned is what you call a conventional starry-eyed child trapped in a man’s body that appears to have no practical grasp of the real world. And we all know by now (I LOVE YOU MAN, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, KNOCKED, just to name a few), Paul Rudd is pretty good at playing an imbecile who doesn’t seem to realize he’s an imbecile. Although he does do idiotic things from time to time, this isn’t just a film about a senseless moron getting by. He’s innocent, good-natured, unbelievably ignorant and all-around adorable in his eccentric mannerisms. Following his day-to-day activities you get the idea that he isn’t so much of an imbecile, but more of a fool. As Shakespeare put it in As You Like It, “The fool doth himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
With no place to live after an early release from jail, Ned gets passed around among his three sisters who want nothing to do with their good-for-nothing brother. Following some typical 21st Century New York City lifestyles, there is Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), a free-spirited hipster struggling to hold a serious relationship with her girlfriend, Cindy (Rashida Jones), Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), a career-obsessed and bossy journalist trying to get her big break and Liz (Emily Mortimer), the suburban mother of two children trying to obtain the perfect family with a cheating husband (Steve Coogan). Their lives crumble when Ned reveals troubling truths that none of them want to face, and he’s blamed for all their misfortune and pain.
Ned’s loud and brutally honest mouth causes a really unbelievable turn of events for his three sisters. It’s thrilling to see how his good intentions can play out so horribly and be received in such a negative fashion. Miranda says, “You don’t understand, my brother is a moron,” and Ned nods approvingly, showing he even accepts his position in his sister’s eyes. However, things take a 180-turn when Ned gets fed up with the behavior among his sisters at a family gathering for their resistance to play a game of charades. Realizing how immature they’ve been, they attempt to patch up Ned’s life by reuniting him with the only thing that would make him happy: his dog Willie Nelson.
Director Jesse Peretz unfolds brilliant and heart-warming scenes surrounding the movie around very real, not-so-typical family affairs that keeps the audience consistently in laughter, tears and cries. Co-written by the director’s sister, Evgenia Peretz and her husband David Schisgall, one might ascertain that this movie is so successful because it might be close to heart. A classic Elizabethan tragicomedy full of laughs, cries and of course, a happy ending, OUR IDIOT BROTHER is a charming comedy that while delicately exposing a touching truth about our foolish nature.
If you like this recommendations: Knocked Up, The Hangover, Forgetting Sarah Marshall