Paul Rudd is usually a safe bet for a great film. There aren't too many he's done in his life that didn't turn out good, if not great. Then you have him star with comedic staples like Elizabeth Banks (40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models), Zooey Deschnael (Your Highness, (500) Days of Summer), Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man, NBC's The Office) and Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2) and it should be a comedic slam dunk, right? Well, Our Idiot Brother wasn't because it wasn't a comedy.
Director Jesse Peretz (The Ex) assembled an impressive indie comedy cast only to pull out a dramedy. The story centers around three sisters dealing with their brother after he's released from prison. Their brother, Rudd, isn't really a criminal...he's just an idiot. He was thrown in jail for selling weed to a uniformed cop. That's how the movie starts. Not only is Rudd's character an idiot, but he's one of the most likable and lovable characters of the year. He means no harm in everything he does, yet harm is what seems to be left in his wake. His family's life gets turned upside-down by his arrival but it's through this that self reflection follows.
Rudd is at the top of his game. He's fantastic. Really everyone is. The enemy of success for this is a mix of poor direction and a lackluster script from a first time writing team that half of which was made up of Peretz's wife. The entire film is executed with an energy that seemed like everyone smoked weed during the whole production because it lacks energy completely.
Another turn off for the film was that it's about two cultures of people that I personally get annoyed with quickly - hippies and hipsters. Rudd is a hippie from Long Island but their sisters' worlds exist as busy, artie hipsters living in Brooklyn. Worlds collide? I guess so but with annoying meets awful, you end up with awfully annoying. It limits the likable characters to just Rudd's and that's a problem when you're suppose to like everyone else as well. So unless you have stellar jokes to carry you through the entire film, which Our Idiot Brother doesn't have, you're left with a plodding dramedy about mostly selfish, whiny, crap characters.
Our Idiot Brother is worth seeing but merely as a rental. Maybe it would have been better if there was a little bit more idiot in it instead of the idiot turning out to be the only character that is worthy of an audience's adoration.
Our Idiot Brother (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: B-