Dustin Anderson is 813area.com’s in-house film critic. Each week he’ll be giving us his unique take on a premiering feature film or home video release.
Our Idiot Brother is the story of Ned (Paul Rudd), a contemporary hippie, flower child, fresh out of jail for selling pot to a uniformed police officer. After getting out of jail and losing everything down to his dog, he decides to rely on his family to help put him up until he gets his act together. Hijinx ensue when he moves in-between his three sisters trying to be the best brother he can for all of them. Splitting his obligations between the gossipy professional Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), the artsy lesbian Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and the super-mom in a marriage on the rocks Liz (Emily Mortimer), Ned does his best, but seems to bring more misery than bliss. Ned’s dilemma is that it seems like he can’t find his place anywhere outside of a Phish concert or some hemp-centrified commune, if there is a difference.
Our Idiot Brother is director Jesse Peretz’s second attempt to breakout on the big screen, his first attempt being The Ex with Zach Braff. Little did we know that The Ex would set a bar of passable mediocrity for the rest of the movies he directs.
It seems throughout the film, someone forgot to tell the writers that good characters should be both relatable and multi-dimensional, you know, like people in real life. The relatable factor was there. That familiar thought of “Hey, I know someone like that,” was prevalent throughout the movie, but the depth of the character’s development felt very phoned in. I found myself asking many questions after the movie ended. Many things go unexplained, leaving the audience with many uneasy questions concerning the movie. The only character given the proper treatment is Ned.
Our Idiot Brother wasn’t all bad though; it allowed for Paul Rudd to expand on his range as actor and breakout from the, more or less, prototypical character he’s been playing for the past few years. I was beginning to think that he was another good actor doomed to be typecast as the straight-laced, business-y type in future films. Our Idiot Brother flips that character on his head, casting Rudd as a free feeling, love-is-all-you-need hippie.
If I could make a suggestion for this movie it would be to put another 15 to 20 minutes in it for character development and it would be a hit. This wasn’t a bad movie, it just had so much potential to be a great movie. If you like Paul Rudd, Our Idiot Brother won’t change your opinion about him. He still does great work as he’s done in his other films. If you are bored and looking for something to do this weekend, this movie won’t be a waste of time, but if you have the choice I would just wait for this to come out on DVD and rent it. It’s not worth buying or going out of your way to see it in theaters, but it is worth a look.
What do you think, Tampa Bay? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comment box below.