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‘Our Idiot Brother’ lives up to its name, but not its hype

Submitted by David Ellis on September 11, 2011 – 5:41 pmNo Comment

“Our Idiot Brother” starring Paul Rudd, is a flop.

Written by Evgenia Peretz, and David Schisgall, and directed by Jesse Peretz, it fails to develop the characters and lacks any real humor. It leaves the audience with a sense of being screwed.

Paul Rudd, is a comedic actor with some pretty big chops in the genre, in movies such as “Anchor Man,” “40-Year-Old Virgin,” and “Role Models.” His latest film however is nowhere near as funny, or even entertaining.

In “Our Idiot Brother”, Rudd plays Ned, a hippie, organic farmer who lives with his girlfriend Janet (Kathryn Hahn), and his dog Willie Nelson. The movie opens with Ned tending a street-side stand selling the organic vegetables he grows on the farm with his girlfriend.

But none of this is made mention of, it must be inferred after the movie gets going. You don’t even get the main characters name until about 20 or 30 minutes in.

In the opening scene Ned is approached by a police officer in full uniform, who asks Ned if he knows where to score some marijuana, after a goofy exchange of subtle hints, Ned finally figures out what the cop is asking and another goofy exchange of negotiation over the price, Ned wanting to give it away for free, the officer needing to pay for it in order to arrest the unwary Ned.

The foolishness of Ned in this scene is not believable and stretches on far too long with a predictable outcome.

Ned is arrested, and Willie Nelson is sent back home with Janet. Upon returning home from prison, Ned comes home to find another hippie has taken up with his girlfriend, and they are keeping Willie Nelson.

Janet’s new boyfriend suggests to Ned he could rent out the goat barn at the farm for $500. So Ned sets out to do just that.

Inevitably Ned ends up relying on the good graces of his family. He starts out staying with his mother (Shirley Knight) which does not work out. This scene is so short that it does not even give a sense of the relationship between Ned and his mom.

I have to use numbers to refer to Ned’s sisters because they honestly did not refer to each other that often enough to establish their character names. The scenes themselves are brief and not put together so that they flow well chronologically. Ned moves in with sister number one who is raising three children, and her husband (Emily Mortimer, and Steve Coogan), a documentary film-maker. Ned befriends his nephew, and introduces him to the Pink Panther and violence, much to the chagrin of the boy’s parents.

Ned witnesses an act of infidelity on the part of the husband, and is kicked out before he can tell his sis what he’s seen.

Now Ned must move in with sister number two (Elizabeth Banks), a single, type “A” personality, writer for a prestigious magazine. While on assignment to cover a story on a wealthy heiress, and a scandalous relationship, she loses her ride, and in desperation calls Ned to be her driver.

During the interview the heiress seems more willing to talk to Ned, because of his easy-going personality. This does not sit well with his sister and Ned is kicked out for ruining the interview.

Ned comes to live with sister number three (Zooey Deschanel) and her lesbian life partner (Rashida Jones), this sister being a stand-up comic and part-time nude model. The lesbian life partner is a lawyer. Ned needing the money also decides to try nude modeling.

During conversation with the artist Ned lets it out that his sister is a bi-sexual, and an infidelity occurs on the part of his sister, who winds up pregnant after the affair. Ned tries to convince his sister that honesty is the best policy.

His sister’s life partner, meanwhile, tries to convince Ned to take Willie Nelson back from Janet. During a botched attempt to steal the dog, Ned, believing that his sister has already talked to her partner about her infidelity, lets it slip that his sister is pregnant.

Once again Ned is back with his mom. In the midst of all this chaos Ned has to meet with his parole officer, with whom he has become friends. During one of these meetings Ned tells his parole officer he has been stressed out and has had to sneak off to the neighbor’s house to smoke a joint.

The parole officer is now obligated to send Ned back to prison. Without giving away the ending I will say this movie lives up to its name but not its hype. With little character development and a plot that bounces around more than the main character, the few humorous moments in the film are lost on a confused audience.

If you must see this movie, see it at the dollar theater, or rent it from Red Box. You will save money even if you waste a couple of hours.

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