Embarassingly enough, I am primarily drawn to romantic comedies, and feel that a comical movie without the slightest touch of “boy meets girl,” is missing something. However, “Our Idiot Brother”, a comedy directed by Jesse Peretz, and appropriately written by his sister Evgenia Peretz, is completely satisfying even without the sappy filler of romance.The story is a refreshing twist on society’s norms, keeping the focus on the manchild brother Ned (Paul Rudd), who sees life in a different perspective than his sisters who live hectic lives in which today’s society would approve. The film praises neither a simple way of living, nor a complicated one, and instead director Jesse Peretz decided to refreshingly mock both. The main character Ned, is dumped by his hippie girlfriend, and left homeless and dogless. Ned looks for help, and more importantly a home, where he switches off staying at his three sisters homes. They soon realize Ned’s easy-going state of mind, causes them more stress, and quickly the sisters secrets unravel into the hands of an ever-too trusting brother. In their delusional minds, their lives are ruined, not because of their own actions but because of their idiot brother, Ned.
One large aspect of the movie, that I found, smart yet distracting, was the filler plot. In “Our Idiot Brother,” the plot takes the form of a relationship between Ned and his dog, Willie Nelson. It was unnecessary, however it gave the story more complication, and tricked the audience into thinking the film was anything but linear, however it was. Rudd was absolutely hilarious, as I expected, however the dialogue, and relationship stuff between the sisters were given too much focus, and distracted form the main idea of the movie.
Another huge problem with “Our Idiot Brother,” was the acting. Almost every character was too comfortable playing their role, that it came off as a joke. Janet, Ned’s ex-girlfriend, was dressed too much like the stereotypical hippie, and acted very artificial and sarcastic when playing one. As soon as an actor doesn’t take their role seriously, it shows, and immediately takes you out of the film. Elizabeth Banks, who played Miranda, the career obsessed New Yorker, and also one of the sisters of Ned, was very hard to watch. First, it was very apparent she was wearing a wig, and second she played the role as if it was an idea rather than a person.
Without Paul Rudd as the lead, and an a-list cast, the movie would have come off more indie than mainstream comedy. “Our Idiot Brother,” was funny, but most of the time, the movie had too many filler scenes, making hard to pay attention. The movie relied heavily on the main actor and forgot to realize the potential of the story. However, looking at the big picture, it was hilarious, and the end is fairly optimistic, so in my book “Our Idiot Brother” was a success.
Written by Made Sandrolini. This article is an online exclusive.