Our Idiot Brother is not so dumb

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.

Paul Rudd headlines in the new comedy Our Idiot Brother that opens this week.

Paul Rudd headlines in the new comedy Our Idiot Brother that opens this week.

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.