It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a movie as dumb and weird as Our Idiot Brother. Its humor is closest to Napoleon Dynamite, but with a lot more charm. Dynamite sort of came of as weird and random, but Our Idiot Brother comes off as more of a dumb and charming little film. Its intentions are good and it’s enjoyable. The main thing is getting over how dumb it is. Every bit of dialogue is delivered with an easy, laid back attitude. The word dude is thrown around a lot and if you’re okay with that then I think you might find something in Our Idiot Brother. It’s a light, sweet and charming film that works mainly because of Paul Rudd.
Ned (Paul Rudd) is that brother that everyone has. He’s an organic farmer that’s very honest and trusting to everybody around him, whether he knows them or not. So trusting that he is convinced to sell pot to an on duty police officer, in full uniform. This lands him in jail, which leads to him losing his job, his girlfriend and most importantly, his dog Willie Nelson. Ned decides to visit his sisters and mother and possibly figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Liz (Emily Mortimer) is the sister turned married mom of the family who seems to have her life in order. Her husband Dylan (Steve Coogan) is a filmmaker who is slowly distancing himself away from his wife and family. Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is the sister that is always tied up in work and too busy to really care about anything else. She’s a reporter and Ned shows up at the worst possible time. She’s in the middle of this big deadline that could drastically affect her career. She’s single, but really enjoys the company of a fellow apartment patron named Jeremy (Adam Scott).
Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is his last sister; she’s sort of a free spirit that is still trying to get comfortable with her own life. She’s dating Cindy (Rashida Jones), but is sort of coming onto a man she meets, so Ned again comes at an awkward time for one of his sisters!
As you can tell, Ned sort of comes at a bad time for everyone in his family. All of his sisters are too busy living their lives that they don’t really want to bother with Ned. They offer him a place to stay, but they don’t want to deal with his easy going lifestyle. This is where the film really strives. Our Idiot Brother is stuffed full of great actors and actresses. Guys like T.J. Miller and Adam Scott have decent sized roles in addition to the main cast of Ned and his sisters. Even Steve Coogan gets a lot of screen time as the husband of Liz. It’s the interactions Ned has with just about anyone that really makes the film work.
If Ned would have been played by anyone other than Paul Rudd then I think Our Idiot Brother would really have struggled. Rudd, who is known for usually playing the more normal character, really does embrace the silly Ned with such care. While Ned is very dumb, he is never offensively dumb or to the point of you not liking his character. Most of the laughs do come from Ned’s weird decision making and the general way he chooses to handle things, but he never crosses the extremely dumb territory like Napoleon Dynamite. There’s usually always a purpose in what Ned does in Our Idiot Brother, nothing is done for the sake of a cheap, weird laugh. He always has a certain charm about him that made it relatable. Sure, Ned can be a bit of a distraction for his sisters, but they always understood that he was only trying to help them. He never tries to benefit himself in any situation and that’s not something you see every day. Ned is probably the nicest person every perceived on film and it’s almost kind of sad watching people take advantage of him.
Our Idiot Brother is a really chilled comedy that never takes itself too serious, but it does implement a few scenes of honest emotion. A particular one that comes to mind is when Ned just wants to play a game of charades with his family. His sisters aren’t participating because they are mad at the poor life choices they’ve made and they try and put that on Ned, while Ned is just trying to enjoy himself with his sisters, nephew and mother. Ned has simple life objectives and it shows that sometimes people get so wrapped up in life that they forget to stop and smell the roses. Something as simple as being with his family can makes Ned’s day and Rudd shows that importance without ever mocking it.
It’s really weird seeing a film like Our Idiot Brother getting released in a time where everything needs to be dark and gritty. Characters like Batman and Spider-Man can no longer be fun and simple, but instead they must have dark beginnings with hardship and pain. People seem to not be interested in watching light stuff anymore, everything needs a background and everything needs to be realistic and serious and this is where Our Idiot Brother shines the most. It’s extremely light and fun. Sure, you can call it dumb and stupid, but I like that it’s never trying to offend anyone. It’s not trying to be raunchy or dark material or stuff that is so dumb it’s good, it’s just a light and charming movie that wears its emotions on its sleeve. It does tackle a few serious situations but it does so with care and honesty. I enjoyed the refreshing feel it gave off and I don’t think it’s going to really click with many people because of its intentions.
Paul Rudd leads an excellent ensemble cast in very sweet film. Our Idiot Brother is an R rated film, but the jokes never get too inappropriate or raunchy. Everything is treated with a light and easy going tone. I think it is going to end up being the perfect film to buy on DVD or Blu-ray. I can see a lot of great laughs coming from this movie in the future and I hope that more people go out and give it a chance. The trailers don’t do the film justice and it really does need to be seen by any fans of the cast involved or people just looking for a light comedy that never tries to be anything that it’s not.
Our Idiot Brother – 7.5/10