Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our Idiot Brother

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Our Idiot Brother - 4 out of 5

Whenever I see Paul Rudd in a film--whether he's has the starring role like in this one or he's making a cameo or plays a supporting role--I'm always amazed at the strides he's made as an actor.  The first time I saw his was in that terrible film Clueless and I'll never forget his performance in one of my favorite horror film franchises ever; Halloween, as he played a grown up version of the little boy Jamie Lee Curtis babysat; Tommy Doyle.  After his encounter with the mad Michael Myers (not the one who does the voice of Shrek), I didn't see Rudd until I started to notice him starring in more and more comedies--starting with Wet, Hot American Summer.  After seeing him in that, all I saw him do was play the funny guy (and he did it very well) and it seemed his attempts at being a more serious actor were behind him (but how serious can you be when you're resume contains Clueless and Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers).  However, more of his recent comedies have shown that Rudd is more than capable of making a balance between serious and comedic acting.  No better does he show this level of maturity and evolution than as Ned in Our Idiot Brother.

The opening sequence of the film really sets the pace for this great comedy.  In case you were wondering, this pic is from the beginning of the film.
Didn't this dude get eaten by a giant piranha?
Our Idiot Brother is about a young organic farmer who is duped by a police officer into selling marijuana and is sent to jail.  Upon his release, he is cast away by his girlfriend (who, in an ultimate bitch move, won't let the man take his dog) and is forced to find both friendship and shelter from his three sisters.  Each sibling our farmer/hippie friend (in case you haven't guessed it yet, it's Paul Rudd as Ned) comes wandering into the lives of ends up becoming uprooted and tossed about with his innocent and naive influence.  As Ned unwittingly upsets each and every sister, he is tossed to the next until there's no one new to go to and his family starts to realize that, despite how angry Ned makes them, he's just an honest, charming and loving man who just does what he thinks is right and now it's time to return the favor to their brother.

It's a proven scientific fact that naked dudes holding their junk make your movie 25% funnier.

The same make-up crew that made Charlize Theron ugly in
Monster gave Rashida Jones those glasses.

From beginning to end, Our Idiot Brother is a fun, charming and all-around sweet film that nearly perfectly balances family drama with some great comedy.  At no point does the film get ridiculous or does it become too heavy in the drama.  Instead, what you get is a burst of flavor that is pleasing to both the brain and eyes.  Paul Rudd is just terrific as Ned and he's backed up with some equally terrific talent like Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, the always funny Steve Coogan, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, and, even though she only has a few scenes, Shirley Knight is just as loveable as ever.  And a special mention has to go to T.J. Miller who is very funny in every scene he's in.  The dude's come a long way from Cloverfield.

T.J. Miller's scenes are each made with gold and hilarity...and they're low in fat.

Kathryn Hahn is my other complaint.  She's just not funny.
The only complaints I have about the film is the fact that Zooey Daschanel plays one of Rudd's sisters and, surprise surprise, she's playing the same character she does in every freakin' movie she is in.  You know the one:  The wide-eyed, "play-by-my-own-rules", non-conformist hipster cliche.  If she did this role well, I could see it being fine having her do it in 6 movies a year but the fact her acting usually consists of her eyes and mouth trying to beat each other in a "let's see who can open up the widest" contest, what's the point.  However, this complaint becomes null and void because Rudd just knocks it out of the park as Ned.

Not only can't I stand her as an actor, I also don't find her attractive.  So quit telling me she's hot, Internet.

Even making that stupid face, Elizabeth Banks is still
attractive.  Maybe more so.
Finally, one other thing slightly bothered me about the film.  Paul Rudd's character is far from being an idiot.  Our culture defines an idiot as a "stupid" or "mentally challenged" individual.  Ned doesn't really showcase these attributes.  The whole movie his sister's refer to him as an "idiot" and he's actually very charming, sweet and an absolutely nice guy.  He may be very naive and tends to think the best in people but at no point did I find him to be an idiot.  However, that's the whole point of the film--to have his siblings think of him one way and treat him that way when he really isn't that way at all.  They refer to him as an idiot in order to project their own insecurities and baggage on him and blame him for the problems in their lives but, as it turns out, they were the idiots, not their brother.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you didn't see the trailer, I guess the title can be misleading and you might expect some really bad slapstick and think Paul Rudd's character is really an idiot as he comes stumbling into his sister's lives, stepping in paint cans and setting up ridiculous Rube Goldberg sequences the likes of which a Home Alone film hasn't seen.  Thankfully, the film wasn't like that and was a much deeper and smarter comedy than the title could lead you to believe.

Oh yeah, here's a picture of Emily Mortimer as Liz, one of Ned's sisters.  I really don't have anything interesting or funny to add to this picture.

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