Lovably idiotic

A step beyond silly

Our Idiot Brother
Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

I walked into the movie theater this past weekend expecting to see a silly comedy about a dumb hippie who can’t get his life together and chooses to sponge off his relatives. I walked out quite pleasantly surprised that Our Idiot Brother brought a little more to the table than what I’d ordered.

Paul Rudd plays the title character, Ned, an organic farmer who makes a stupid mistake that lands him in the big house. When he gets out, he turns to his family—his mom and three sisters—to help him get back on his feet. (By back on his feet, I mean he needs enough money to be able to pay rent on a goat barn. They don’t call him an idiot for nothing.)

Rudd seems to have been born to play this role (just think of him in Anchorman or Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and his sisters are equally as qualified and charming. Zooey Deschanel takes a turn as a slut-turned-lesbian, Elizabeth Banks plays a ruthless journalist, and Emily Mortimer is an unhappily married mother of two.

As Ned makes his way from one sister’s house to another, he leaves a path of destruction in his wake. But what Ned lacks in intelligence he makes up for in kindness. He truly means well, and it’s this quality that turns into the driving force behind the film. It turns out Ned has something to teach each one of his sisters, no matter how “with it” each of them seems to be (and how “out of it it” he seems to be).

Rather than relying on silly antics to get laughs, Our Idiot Brother instead is funny on a real, human level. And it’s much sweeter than the title implies.