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Our Idiot Brother - Film Review

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by Matt Elliot Taylor (subscribe)
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
Published November 10th 2011
Theatrical Poster (Copyright The Weinstein Company)

You know what they say: "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your relatives." This statement is none more true than in this new film about family, trust and doing what's right, Our Idiot Brother.

Paul Rudd stars as Ned, an idealistic, nave and often stupid 'organic farmer' who after being arrested for selling drugs to a uniformed Policeman is let out of jail on parole for good behaviour ("I got the award for Best Behaved Convict four months in a row"). After his hippie ex-girlfriend Janet (Kathryn Hahn) takes his house and dog named Willie Nelson, he sets out for New York City to reunite with his three sisters: Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer). Each of them have problems of their own, but each of them try to let Ned into their lives no matter how much harder it may make things for them.

Because he is so nave and compassionate, Ned causes his sisters and the people around him constant irritation. He has a good heart and he means well, and as he tries so hard not to disappoint anyone, he gradually realises that it's impossible. With his wacky array of costumes and a dry, witty script, Our Idiot Brother has some wonderfully funny and charming moments (a particular highlight involves the scenes with his parole officer), but unfortunately lingers in its pace. For a while it feels like the plot doesn't really move it forward enough. It feels stagnated at times in a constant cycle of situations, and as a result it feels longer than 90 minutes. But Paul Rudd's amiable and innocent performance as the compassionate Ned, surrounded by a strong ensemble female cast, carries the film. He has always played the awkward non-socialite brilliantly (see I Love You, Man [2009]).

Walking a fine line between a sweet melodrama and quirky comedy, Our Idiot Brother will have you almost yelling at the screen for Ned to just stop talking, but at the same time have you laughing heartily. Paul Rudd fans especially will thoroughly enjoy this indie 'dramedy' in sweet, sweet dysfunction.

***1/2 out of *****

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Why? A fun, quirky comedy from the hilarious Paul Rudd
When: August 26 (USA) November 3 (AUS)
Where: Selected Cinemas
Cost: Check your local cinema for details
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