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Film Review: Our Idiot Brother

08/28/2011 04:06PM ● Published by Wendy Sipple

Paul Rudd stars as Ned, a hippie farmer that sells a policeman pot while trying to be a nice guy. After he is released from prison he finds his girlfriend has found a new guy and refuses to give him his best friend, his dog Willie Nelson. Ned moves back home rotating staying with his three sisters and mother while he crafts a plan that will get his dog back. While staying with his sisters Ned unwittingly uncovers major problems in his sister’s lives forcing them to deal with them head on.

Although Our Idiot Brother is being marketed as a comedy, it is definitely more of a character study and drama. It does have humorous moments, but the film never takes an easy laugh. Instead it focuses on the drama of Ned’s family, and in particular his three sisters who are all facing problems in their lives. This film reminds me a lot of Forest Gump, but just on a much smaller more intimate scale. The character of Ned seems to walk through life completely immune to the everyday stresses that everyone else faces. That coupled with his unwavering trust of just about everyone puts him in unique positions where people both trust and exploit him. The title of the film does not accurately describe the lead character because Ned is not portrayed as an idiot in the film. A title that would better describe Ned is Our Naive Hippie Optimistic Brother.
The movie is filled with strong performances but Paul Rudd makes the whole movie work. He injects a lot of heart into his performance. His actions never come across as stupid or a set up for a laugh. Ned genuinely is trying to do the right thing. Paul Rudd effortlessly walks a fine line in a difficult role where he could easily loose the audience if he comes across as too slapstick stupid. In not one scene does Paul ever do this which is a tribute to his strength as an actor.
The core of the story is about family and how despite all the dysfunction, families can come together to support each other. Ned becomes an easy scapegoat for the problems the sister have in their life, allowing them to pretend that their own actions are the culprit. It’s something that probably everyone does to a certain extent and is either too embarrassed or too blind to admit. The strength of Our Idiot Brother is it takes all of its characters seriously so there is weight to all of the family problems.
I feel bad for Our Idiot Brother because due to its false marketing the wrong audience will be seeing this in theaters. It is a good film with a huge heart but it is not a non-stop laugh inducing comedy and was never intended to be. An audience expecting a light drama about a dysfunctional family would willingly embrace this movie; I am not sure a young teenage crowd expecting to see gross out comedy will do the same. Because of the star power it is easy to forget that Our Idiot Brother is an independent movie that won crowds over at Sundance before finding a distributor. With the right expectations Our Idiot Brother will win you over too.
Films like My Idiot Brother – Forest Gump, Napoleon Dynamite and Cyrus

 


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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