FILM REVIEW: Our Idiot Brother
- August 26, 2011 10:31 AM |
- By Eli Glasner
Elizabeth Banks left, Paul Rudd and Emily Mortimer in a scene from Our Idiot Brother. (Alliance Films)
Just weeks before Our Idiot Brother arrived in theatres, another pothead protagonist was celebrating a milestone. Yup, The Dude from The Big Lebowski has received the Blu-Ray treatment. Last week, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi trouped onstage to celebrate one of the Coen brothers' most successful films.
Wafting into the cinema, with a certain sweet smell in the air, comes Our Idiot Brother. The movie that caused a sensation at Sundance was picked up and tweaked by none other than Harvey "Scissor hands" Weinstein.
Stepping into the Crocs of the titular idiot is Paul Rudd. A member in good standing of the Judd Apatow league of funnymen, Rudd is almost unrecognizable decked out in a mountain man beard and in the kind of multicoloured baggy pants you see at a Phish concert. He plays organic farmer Ned, who makes the mistake of selling pot to a police officer -- in uniform.
Once out of jail (and kicked off his organic farm), Ned arrives on the doorsteps of his sophisticated, city-dwelling sisters. There's amoral magazine writer Miranda, Natalie, the lesbian with commitment issues, and stay-at-home wife Liz. Like previous Sundance smash Little Miss Sunshine, Idiot Brother is no slouch when it comes to on-screen talent. Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer play the three sisters. Their snappy dialogue and easy give-and-take is one of the zany comedy's best features.
Surprising for a so-called indie film, Idiot Brother is filled with smart people making superficial choices. Perhaps they're supposed to provide contrast to Ned's trusting nature, but the best comedies know how to treat their characters seriously. Without giving the characters some weight, Idiot Brother devolves into farce instead of a story with some real depth.
Still, after this season's string of R-rated comedies, this silly story starring a stoner savant is a nice way to close out the summer. Our Idiot Brother features a number of nice pairings, including the great When Harry Met Sally tension between Miranda and her slacker neighbour Jeremy (Adam Scott) as well as the modern day Cheech and Chong-coupling of Rudd with a blissed-out T.J. Miller, who elevates idiocy to new heights.
RATING: Three Hacky Sacks out of five.
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