The Weinstein Company's Our Idiot Brother (opening today) is a rare Paul Rudd movie that's actually deserving of, and lives up to, his comic brilliance and his heart as a performer. Director Jesse Peretz (who'd previously worked with Rudd on The Chateau) and writers Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall have cooked up a guiltless guilty pleasure in this warmly funny, mildly subversie ensemble piece about a hapless hippy fuck-up and his alternately supportive and judgmental sisters, played by Elizabeth Banks (pictured), Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. It's a movie I hope will get the attention it deserves even if it's not as commercially idiotic as its title suggests.
Ned (Rudd) breaks up with his girlfriend (a hysterically deadpan Kathryn Hahn) after a stint in prison for selling pot to a uniformed police officer (yes, he's that trusting) and winds up having to bounce from sister to sister mother (an embarrassingly underused Shirley Knight) in order to have a place to crash. Miranda (Banks, who is a dead ringer for Parker Posey in every frame) is a go-getting Vanity Fair writer attempting to ignore her feelings for a snarky neighbor (Adam Scott), Natalie (Deschanel) is a free-spirited bisexual finally in a committed relationship (with a rather unimaginatively textbook lesbian, played by Rashida Jones with as much thought as June Allyson once put into playing a lesbian—the latter wore her son's baseball uniform) and Liz (Mortimer) is an uptight housewife whose hubby (Steve Coogan) is a prick of a documentary filmmaker and cheating on her to boot.
The hilarity of watching Ned stumble into situations that uproot everyone's lives is expertly sustained throughout by Peretz, with only a few missteps in the story that feel a bit easy. Ned does more than one idiotic thing, yet his authenticity goes a long way toward helping to underscore who the real idiots are. Rudd's performance is absolutely spot-on—funny, endearing and even sexy enough to attract the interest of a couple in one scene that's a great alternative to the typical gay-panic scene.
Do NOT miss this one, man. Like, wow. I mean...yeah.