Our Idiot Brother

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our idiot brother

Paul Rudd is always great to watch on screen.

Steve Coogan, who was so hysterical in The Trip earlier this year and always cracks me up, wasn’t given a lot to do in this movie. His biggest laugh came from the shocking view of him bending over while nude.

Many of the sisters of this “idiot” brother were poorly written characters (Elizabeth Banks was downright unlikable).

Yet the movie works despite those and a few other flaws.

Part of that is because Paul Rudd (channeling Eddie Vedder and Jesus) isn’t really an idiot. He’s a guy that smokes pot, doesn’t have the most common sense, and trusts everybody.

He might be a loafer, but it’s really his sisters that do all the idiotic stuff. A scene that perfectly captures that is when they sit to play charades. Instead of a few cheap laughs you get in comedies with game scenes (Four Christmases and The Cable Guy each have one) — their game night becomes family feud. And it makes you like Rudd’s character more than you already did.

It’s a very impressive cast that surrounds Rudd.

Emily Mortimer plays the frumpy, unhappily married sister.

Zooey Deschanel plays the usual flakey character she does well. It’s fun watching her try her hand at stand-up comedy in a few scenes.

Rudd was great as the smart aleck stepbrother in Clueless, and I was afraid his hippie character would be too clueless for my liking. He’s not, and that was smart to create the character the way they did.

The Christopher Lloyd character on Taxi was great and we loved Cheech & Chong in the ‘70s, but that stoned character has been done to death.

I did think of an episode of Taxi when there were a few times Rudd ends up at parties or events the sisters didn’t want him to attend. And of course, people gravitate to him, enjoying talking with him, watching movies with him, and as some find out later – say things they maybe shouldn’t have.

Some of the smaller roles are done by funny actors. There’s stand-up comedian T.J. Miller as the new stoner in Rudd’s ex-girlfriends life (she’s played by Kathryn Hahn, and you wonder how it is Juliette Lewis didn’t get that part).

Rashida Jones plays the girlfriend of Deschanel and she looks cute even with glasses bigger than Anne Hathaway’s in One Day.

Park and Recreation’s Adam Scott plays a neighbor that may or may not be interested in one of the sisters.

And since a dog named Willie Nelson plays such an adorable role in the movie, you laugh with each Nelson tune you hear on the soundtrack.

There’s the most hysterical and bizarre ménage a trois ever filmed. It ends with a kiss on the cheek that will have tears from laughter rolling down your cheeks.

Perhaps the movie wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be, but it was funny enough. And it was a better movie than I thought it would be.

Who would’ve imagined that when the Lemonheads were tearing up the music scene in the early ‘90s, that their bass player would eventually be directing movies like this?

It gets 3 ½ stars out of 5.

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