OUR IDIOT BROTHER is, unsurprisingly, less about Paul Rudd’s titular character and more about the people around him. Even less surprisingly is the fact that, as it turns out, Rudd’s Ned isn’t really an idiot after all – he may just be the wisest of all of the characters. Luckily, Jesse Peretz – known primarily for his comedic television work in the last few years – doesn’t hammer that fact too hard, even if the film walks a dangerously thin line in doing so. After all, everybody knows somebody who is at least a little bit like Ned: a man (or woman) whose eternal optimism and clarity of vision (despite a remarkably
smoky, er, hazy facade) are as much a beacon of light as they are abrasively obtrusive for those around them.
It follows, therefore, that the film should follow not just Ned, but his entire family in almost equal measure; each character gets their own arc and almost as much screen time as Rudd, making this something of an ensemble piece. Wisely, the casting for OUR IDIOT BROTHER is impeccable – Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Moritmer and TJ Miller all round out the film, each giving their own hilarious and unique vantage point on Ned. And the more we see from the people around him, the more charming and loveable Ned becomes; though he may be the odd man out in the family, it’s not hard to wish that his natural charisma was the rule, rather than the exception.
The script never really reaches for anything too transcendent in its final act, to the film’s detriment, but that doesn’t stop OUR IDIOT BROTHER from being a very human, very funny movie. Paul Rudd’s performance is gleefully infectious, and every member of the cast helps make the film an enjoyable experience. Though not overly memorable, you could certainly do worse as far as comedies go, and Rudd is heartwarming enough to make it a worthwhile watch for just about anybody.