Is it wrong to expect a whole lotta dumb from a movie called Our Idiot Brother? Now, this is the GOOD dumb I’m talking about here …the put-your-brain-on-pause-and-laugh kind of dumb. And with a shaggy Paul Rudd headlining as a modern day hippie, Our Idiot Brother certainly looks to be dumb.
Alas, it’s not. At least … not really all that dumb. In fact, it’s almost smart. And not the GOOD kind of smart either. This is a nowhere-plot-that-you-have-to-draw-your-own-conclusion-but-my-aren’t-these-characters-complex-and-interesting kind of smart. Not such a bad thing if you’re watching a David O. Russell feature — kinda tedious if you’re not.
Rudd’s hemp-wearing, organic veggie-munching Ned Rochlin, the idiot brother himself, isn’t far removed from the stoned-out surfer that he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, just nowhere near as caustic. Ned’s a kind-hearted free spirit who, after getting busted for selling pot to a uniformed police officer (he meant well, honest) and dumped by his girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn), takes turns staying with his sisters — Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel — and, with his ridiculous naivety, ruins their already tattered lives.
Out Idiot Brother certainly has its moments and, overall, isn’t a terrible film — it just doesn’t feel like we’re getting what was advertised. Rarely will I wish for less humanity, more moron — but this is one of those times.
Out of a possible five stars, I’ll give Our Idiot Brother a two and a half. The feature is currently playing at the Pen-Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.
Jason Armstrong is a movie reviewer living in the Okanagan.