September 1, 2011
As it got closer to my seeing the movie I will admit I was curious as to what Our Idiot Brother was about. I mean, it could not be about a guy who was just doing dumb things, that would be pretty boring and I don't think Rudd would have taken such a role, so there had to be something in the tale, some sort of meat to sink your teeth into. I was a little worried about it, I actually surprised myself in that I had some actual concern. My biggest fear was that the movie would actually be about an idiot and be a rather mean spirited slog watching this guy make, well, an idiot of himself. I was very happy to discover that is nothing like what the movie is really like.
When I left the theater I was relieved to find that the movie was not what my prior creeping fears were, rather it turned out to be something much different. I was better than I was expecting, different than what you would think, and while not necessarily a great film, it is one to certainly enjoy and savor. It is a movie with a definite cynical side much in the vein of society (at least I think so) but that is not what it is about, it is a much more light hearted and sweet film. We could use more people like Rudd's Ned character.
As the movie opens we are introduced to simple Ned. He is working on an organic farm and is selling produce from a stand in the town. A police officer asks hi where he can buy some marijuana, Ned, sensing a trap, says he doesn't know. The officer then says it has been a hard week and is looking to relax a bit, at his point Ned flashes a smile and sells him a bag of weed. Ned is arrested and sent to prison.
Now that seems like a dumb thing to do, doesn't it? No one in their right mind would fall for that, so Ned must be an idiot, right? If you were to judge by conventional wisdom, yes, Ned is an idiot. However, over the course of the film you witness his interactions with family, in laws, friends, and other folks and something different comes out. Besides the mess he makes of relationships and work and other related strife resulting from his so-called "idiotic" actions, there is something else that becomes apparent. Ned is a genuinely good guy who believes in the inherent goodness of humanity.
If more people were more like him, the world would be a much more pleasant place, don't you think? Our Idiot Brother is no so much about an idiot as it is about a guy who wants to believe in honesty and that people would not lie or do anything underhanded. It is simplistic and not a way to live in the real world, but in the world of the movie it gives us a reflection of reality and how something like this would be in it.
Paul Rudd Does a fine job of making Ned work. Sure, he is silly and hard to believe at times, but Rudd makes him believable and relatable. He makes sure hat the character is not really an idiot, no matter what his sisters say. Speaking of sisters, the supporting cast is filled with recognizable faces turning in performances that work. The cast includes Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Steve Coogan, and Kathryn Hahn. Every time you turn around there is someone you recognize.
I understand I haven't given you much of the plot, but there really isnt a lot that you really need to know. Ned takes people at their word and, as we all know, people do not always tell the whole truth, they lie, and occasionally hold hints back to reveal at the right moment. Ned is mo a character who thinks that way.
Our Idiot Brother is a funny movie, not really hilarious, but still funny. It is a movie made to make you smile and try to rid you of a little bit of cynicism. I really enjoyed i and was very pleased with what I found in the central character. It may no be a movie of everything you wanted, but it may give you a little something you didn't know you needed.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 9/01/2011 10:29:00 PM
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.