There is something so innocent about the comedy in Our Idiot Brother, something that is practically a rarity these days. It’s funny without being mean or overly vulgar, it never truly resorts to toilet humour, and it’s sweet without being sickeningly sugary. This is a movie you could enjoy just as much with your mom as you could with a group of buddies.
Ned (Paul Rudd) is a peace, love, and happiness type of guy who believes, naively, that everyone else is like him and strives to help his fellow man. So when a uniformed police officer pleads with him for some pot because he’s had a bad week, Ned buys his story and gives it to him, only to find himself soon being trucked off to jail.
Upon his release, Ned finds his girlfriend Janet (played by Kathryn Hahn) has hooked up with another guy and he needs to move out of their organic farm. To make matters worse, she’s keeping his dog, Willie Nelson. With nowhere to live and no furry companion in tow, he shacks up with his mom, and then, subsequently, with each of his three sisters until he’s disrupted their lives and is no longer wanted around.
While Rudd does a great job keeping the laughs coming as the dimwitted Ned, it’s Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, and Elizabeth Banks as the three sisters who make the movie so colourful and fun to watch. They all add a lot of humour and heart to the film, and without them this would have just been an extended Funny or Die clip. Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, and Steve Coogan also add a lot of memorable moments with supporting roles that help round out the film perfectly.
Director Jesse Peretz has grown significantly since making the terrible Zach Braff flick The Ex in 2006. He keeps the story on track from beginning to end and never lets the film get off the rails or go in a stupid direction. Hopefully he’s learned something and we see more movies like this from him in the future.
Our Idiot Brother is not groundbreaking and won’t go on to win any awards. But it is a charming movie that is quite enjoyable and rounds out the summer barrage of action and superhero films nicely.
Cast: Paul Rudd, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks
Directed by: Jesse Peretz