Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Our Idiot Brother
A farmer specializing in organic vegetables, Ned gets in a humorous run in with law, after he sells an officer (in uniform) some pot...he was coaxed and he's amiable...he's just a chill dude after all. The aftermath turns into a Job-like follow-up of endless disappointments when Ned is released into the care of his family and traded off to live with his three sisters. The sitcom-ready premise is set when we meet his family-- there's Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), the Vanity Fair journalist whose all career and bent on more serious stories, Liz (Emily Mortimer), the frigid, stay-at-home mother whose so bent on getting her children to sturdier foundations that she's ignored the fray it's causing them and her unstable marriage, and Natalie (Zooey Deshanel), a free-spirited lesbian with secrets of her own. As the burden of Ned is handed off from one family member to the next, each of the his sisters, and their secretly unhappy lives become more and more unraveled, thanks to his buffoonery and simple-minded kindness.
And while flaky and utterly sitcom-ready (I kept waiting for the laugh track), there's little to argue with the small, twinkly charms of Rudd and company, who through either happenstance or what, make Our Idiot Brother a nice and breezy aside. For Rudd, with Jesus hair, and hippie stance is such a peaceful and seemingly low-key film hero, his appearance is almost silly and daffy enough to keep the whole thing afloat. It's just icing on the cake that his sisters are played by such warm, welcoming and funny women that have the same knack for making the overly familiar seem new and energized. Added icing is an ace supporting cast that includes Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation) as Miranda's would-be suitor, Steve Coogan as Liz's obnoxious documentarian husband, Hugh Dancy as a flaky new-age artist and Julie White as a cult leader. B