- Running time:
- 96 minutes
- Paul Rudd -
- Elizabeth Banks -
- Zooey Deschanel -
- Emily Mortimer -
- Kathryn Hahn -
Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is an uptight Vanity Fair reporter chasing a juicy scoop about a scandalous socialite. Liz (Emily Mortimer) is a wallflower wife and mother trying to rekindle her passionless marriage to a documentarian (Steve Coogan). Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is a bisexual stand-up comic flirting with a hunky artist (Hugh Dancy) despite still being in love with her girlfriend (Rashida Jones). All share a common bond: their brother Ned (Paul Rudd), a boho softie who—after a run-in with the law—crashes at each sister's house and wonkily upends their day-to-day lives.
The buzz: "Our Idiot Brother" was instantly singled out at this year's Sundance Film Festival for its notable cast and quickly snapped up by The Weinstein Company in the biggest deal of the fest. It's also got a fuzzy, PR-friendly backstory that has some playful connections with the movie's plot: Co-writer Evgenia Peretz, herself a contributor to Vanity Fair, penned the screenplay with husband David Schisgall, while her brother, Jesse Peretz, directed it.
The verdict: From "I Love You, Man" to "Knocked Up," Rudd seems to stockpile an endless inventory of goodwill—he's practically the modern-day prototype for the endearing space cadet you want to root for. He puts the goods on full display in "Our Idiot Brother," bringing color and dimension to a borderline-simpleton schlub who could have easily become a one-note cliché. This is, after all, a guy who asks people to hold his money while his fiddles with something, and doles out free strawberries to kids passing by his farmers' market stall. But in Rudd's hands, Ned is childlike but not naïve, truthful but not insufferable. In the movie's opening scene, when Ned is busted for knowingly giving dope to a cop in uniform, you sincerely believe that he just wants to help a guy having a bad day. The real fun comes from the all-you-can-eat buffet of dysfunction cooked up by his sisters, who provide just the right amount of crazy. Banks, in particular, is delectably acidic as ruthless Miranda, who shamelessly pimps out Ned to help her land her story. At times, though, "Our Idiot Brother" draws its characters in broad strokes that reduces them to amusing archetypes, and the story ties up all its loose ends so conveniently and systematically, you'd think it took a cue from Miranda's Type A personality. As anyone with an exasperating idiot brother (or sister, or parent) knows, things aren't always that neat.
Did you know? Rudd and Banks go way back. To date, they’ve co-starred in four movies, including the 2001 cult fave "Wet Hot American Summer" that memorably pegged them as a hot-and-heavy couple licking each other's faces.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Our Idiot Brother in New York.
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