*** 1/2 (THREE AND A HALF STARS)
Meet Ned. I want to hang out with this guy. Seriously. And I think anyone else would too, once you get to know him. And the wonder of this film is that you truly get a sense that you know almost every single character on a level much deeper than the average comedy. This movie’s got heart, and Ned’s heart is the biggest by far.
The title is both accurate and misleading. Ned is an idiot and he isn’t. The world sees Ned as an brainless stoner, but I tell you this: The world would be a brighter, smarter place if we were all idiots like Ned.
What comes off as a low IQ to everyone around him is actually just Ned’s unique way of looking at the world, a rare way. It’s called optimism, and it’s a dying trait in this cynical world. Ned’s outlook is undiminishable however, and his love for life, people, and for doing the right thing is infectious. He does the right thing simply because it’s the right thing. As the film progresses, Ned ends up staying with each of his sisters, and simply by being himself teaches them a thing or two about life, and what’s really important.
Our Idiot Brother is a refreshing break from the over-the-top crudeness of recent comedies, as it draws its laughs from the situations that arise because of the way the characters develop through the story, the circumstances and reactions provide the laughter. We aren’t shown projectile vomit and expected to laugh, nor are our ears peppered with out-of-context language. This film is amusing and whimsical, and occasionally it will bring about a hearty laugh, but this film is more about its characters, and its themes and message, than it is about getting us to laugh for an hour and then leave the theatre. This movie strives to bring out the best in us. Yes, what I’m trying to say is that Our Idiot Brother is…inspirational.
The cast is grand, and the characters are given careful thought and direction. The actors bring more than just lines of dialogue, they present nuances that help make each character so rich that you feel that you know more about their life than you are ever actually told. Paul Rudd takes the cake though. I’ve always liked the guy, I think he’s a great actor and can really create an entirely new character while miraculously looking basically the same in every role. Obviously in this film the beard and long hair are a nice change, but Ned is another wonderful character creation. Yes, what I’m trying to say is that Paul Rudd deserves on Oscar nomination for the film Our Idiot Brother.
But that’s just me. Ned’s optimism might have rubbed off a bit.
Rated R for sexual content including nudity, and for language throughout.
Running Time: 90 Minutes.