DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Paul Rudd Plays Naïve Ex-Con in Prodigal Sibling Comedy
Ned (Paul Rudd) is a good-natured organic farmer dumb enough to be duped into selling pot to a uniformed police officer (Bob Stephenson). As the story unfolds, we find him being paroled, having just finished paying his debt to society.
However, when he hitchhikes home to surprise his girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn), he’s shocked to find her shacking up with another guy (T.J. Miller). What’s worse, she won’t even let him stay in the goat barn while he tries to get back on his feet.
So, broke and unemployed, Ned appeals top his mom (Shirley Knight) who enlists the assistance of his sisters, Liz (Emily Mortimer), Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) and Natalie (Zoe Deschanel). They grudgingly agree to take turns letting the proverbial black sheep of the family crash on their couches, despite the fact that he has never held a steady job.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for Ned to wear out his welcome at each port-of-call, when the same gullibility which makes him so endearing ends up destabilizing his siblings’ assorted relationships. For instance, he is forced to bid mother-of-two Liza adieu soon after matter-of-factly mentioning that he caught her film director husband (Steve Coogan) cavorting naked with his latest leading lady (Lori E. Cunningham).
He next manages to make as much of a mess of commitment-shy Natalie’s life by nonchalantly informing her lesbian lover (Rashida Jones) that his sister is pregnant after having a hetero one-night stand. And that same blasé attitude comes into play when he inadvertently interferes with a platonic friendship of Miranda’s as well as with her latest interview assignment for Vanity Fair.
Directed by Jesse Peretz, the decidedly droll Our Idiot Brother will work for you to the degree that you are able to suspend disbelief and swallow Ned’s terminal naïvete as he unwittingly wreaks havoc everywhere he goes. Credit Paul Rudd for portraying the character with an utterly convincing innocence, even if that dedicated effort is oft undermined by the script’s repeated reliance on repugnant misogynistic and mean-spirited flourishes.
A well-intentioned idealist clueless enough to make Forest Gump look like a street hustler.
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for nudity, sexuality and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, “the Making of” featurette, and a feature commentary with director Jesse Peretz.