The problem with Our Idiot Brother is its title. It gives a false impression that what you are in store for is a 1-D farcical romp. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—in the right mood, we can benefit from a frolic in that type of comedy. Ned (Paul Rudd) has hippy sensibilities and poor logical reasoning. This unfortunate marriage lands him in the pokey. Fast forward eight months. He’s released and learns that his girlfriend Janet (Kathryn Hahn) has taken up with Billy (TJ Miller, also the concierge/drug dealer from Get Him to the Greek). This means Ned is homeless and has lost custody of his adored dog, Willie Nelson. He moves in with his mother and, consequently, with each of his three sisters todisastrous results—one by one, they blame him for ruining their lives. Steve Coogan as Dylan, Liz’s pretentious and arrogant husband, will make you cringe (in genuine Coogan style). Rashida Jones as Cindy takes a turn with a quirky turn. Adam Scott as Jeremy is underused and not that different from his Parks and Recreation shtick.
The character development and clever writing explore the sisters’ festering relationship issues. You may not like all of the characters but Ned brings you around. We come full circle for a satisfying conclusion. You may even leave the theater smiling as I did. Stay put for the extras during the final credits.
Director: Jesse Peretz
Genre: Comedy with bits of drama
Run time: 90 minutes