Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks & Zooey Deschanel
Directed by Jesse Peretz
The happiest day of the week is upon the denizens of Toronto once again. For some it simply means the end of the work week and the arrival of the weekend so everyone can kick up their heels and have some fun. However, for the rest of us it means that the week’s new releases are hitting theatres across our fair city and we all have some watching to do. Out today from our friends at Maple Pictures is a comedy that was all the rave at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Get ready for “Our Idiot Brother”.
“Our Idiot Brother” brings us a story that every family has in common, the story of a sibling who is always just a little bit behind the curve when it comes to getting his life together. For sisters Liz, Miranda and Natalie (Emily Mortimer, Banks & Deschanel), that person is their perennially upbeat brother Ned (Rudd), an erstwhile organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty of mankind is a less-than-optimum strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence. Ned may be completely lacking in common sense, but he is their brother and after his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters once again come to his rescue. As Liz, Miranda and Natalie each take a turn at giving Ned a roof over his head, their brother’s unfailing commitment to honesty creates more than a few messes in their comfortable routines. As each of their lives begins to unravel, Ned’s family comes to realize that maybe believing and trusting the people around him isn’t such a bad thing and that Ned isn’t such an idiot after all.
Director Jesse Peretz doesn’t have a great deal of feature experience, this being only his fourth feature in 14 years. Peretz is a passable story teller; no aspect of this ultimately cute yet forgettable story got hung up on any storytelling incongruities. The script from first time screenwriters, David Shisgall & Evgenia Peretz probably read better on the page than it translated to the screen as many of the jokes and comedic situations just fell flat. The entire story was rife with potential for laugh out loud moments, but it really just evoked the occasional smile.
The popular idiom of “It looks good on paper, but not in practice” applies very well to this movie. The all-star cast of Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Steve Coogan, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones and others looks “on paper” that it should be a homerun waiting to happen, but “in practice” it was far from the truth. Littered with standard and boring comedy clichés, only Rudd as the likeable yet dense Ned and Adam Scott (best known from Parks & Recreation) as the friend/love interest for Ned’s sister Miranda had any real chemistry and charm. I’d pay real money to see Paul Rudd work with Adam Scott in any upcoming comedy as the few scenes that they had together were really a genuine highlight.
Ultimately “Our Idiot Brother” was a cute little film with a nice message about family that you’ll forget about when you leave the theatre. However, given the comedic pedigree of the cast what we got wasn’t nearly enough.
2 out of 5 stars. You can check out our own Kristal Cooper’s take on this film right here.
“Our Idiot Brother” is playing at theatres across Toronto, click here for show times.
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