Hope you had a fantastic holiday.
There are a lot of really bad movies out there. Our Idiot Brother isn’t one of them. Now, if you’re one of those people who happens to like Paul Rudd, you’re in for a major treat. On the other hand, if you’re one of the seemingly seven or eight people in North America who doesn’t happen to like Paul Rudd, I say, skip this altogether.
Otherwise, when you see Our Idiot Brother, what you’ll get is a smart little movie that wants to be maybe too many things at once but which is ultimately a great tale of family, acceptance and well, Paul Rudd. With a smashing cast. Probably the best cast of the year. Nor will this movie get anywhere near the attention of other summer films, largely because a) it’s tiny and b) no one overacts, and c) nothing explodes. You might even have trouble finding it at a theater near you – but if you can, don’t miss it.
By the way, am I crazy or does the upcoming I Don’t Know How She Does It look beyond bad? They’ve started up with the trailers and I’m guessing what are very high hopes for the newest Sarah Jessica Parker working-mom-with-hair-in-her-eyes-to-suggest-exasperation-movies. Only I’ll require some convincing here. Just saying.
Back to Our Idiot Brother. Here Paul Rudd has very awful long shaggy hair and accompanying beard and from this we are to assume hippie, drug dealer (and perhaps even Jesus Freak). What we actually wind up with is a hippie dork who unwittingly does some ultra-stupid things where the law is involved, who winds up going home to crash with his mother. (He’s an idiot all right, but he’s the kind of idiot you like – against your better judgment.) He then farms himself out to each one of his New York City sisters for a stint (and they are charmingly played by Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel). In fact, each actress is such an overwhelmingly specific “type” that you can probably see where the movie’s going by their identities alone. Bottom line, as it all unfolds we watch Rudd’s Ned manage – via sheer honesty – to unsettle everyone’s lives and cause utter chaos in the process. Fortunately, it’s also really funny. The cast is enormous and first rate – with the abovementioned actresses alongside some of the more appealing talent on today’s indie film scene.
What Our Idiot Brother is not is a Judd Apatow comedy (and Rudd has starred in several of them) because the people who made this movie are actually a Vanity Fair editor, her (probably not idiotic) brother, and her (documentary filmmaker) husband. At the risk of using a so-yesterday-afternoon word like “quirky”, that’s exactly the adjective that comes to mind. Thus what we get is comedy that’s subtle and heartbreaking, rather than raunchy and sugar-high-ish. The stereotypes are there, as are the stereotypical notions of infidelity among perfect married couples, and naked ambition among Manhattan journalists, but this goes way beyond the everyday romantic comedy. In fact it’s not a romantic comedy at all. It’s Paul Rudd, doing his thing, and when it’s finished, he’s the idiot you want to keep around.
1) The 40 Year Old Virgin
2) Dinner For Schmucks
3) I Love You Man
4) Role Models