Only Paul Rudd could pull off a movie like Our Idiot Brother. Had the film been in lesser hands it would have easily been passed off as another stupid comedy that relies solely on its simple jokes and impressive cameos, but because of Rudd’s full commitment to the character Our Idiot Brother is a charming family comedy, that has equal measures of care and laughter. Rudd brings a perfect balance of sweet and wacky to the main character and the rest of the cast fits in perfectly.
Ned (Paul Rudd) is an easy going guy that believes in the good in all people. He trusts and loves just about everyone because he thinks that is the only way to bring out a person’s true inner self. Most of the time that ends up in him getting screwed over or made a fool, but there are moments when it works and when it does it works in an enlightening way. Because of Ned’s honest intentions he finds himself in prison because he sold drugs to an officer in uniform. Upon getting released he goes to stay with his family, which consists of three sisters and his mother.
Each sister has their own busy life to live. Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is a journalist for Vanity Fair who is on the verge of breaking away from writing about cosmetic pieces and moving up to real human interest stories. Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is a bi-sexual free spirit who is still living life in all sorts of directions. She’s artistic and open minded, but she hasn’t found her footing just yet. She has a girlfriend named Cindy (Rashida Jones), who is a lawyer, but Natalie still isn’t set on settling down. Liz (Emily Mortimer) is the sister with a family. She’s married to a wealthy filmmaker named Dylan (Steve Coogan) and she has two children.
The only real family member Ned has that isn’t too caught up in life is his mother. Ned originally stays with her while attending probation meetings, but he soon decides that it’s best if he stays with his sisters. He starts at one and moves to the others as he slowly tries incorporating his easy going life with their busy lives. Things don’t work out too well for Ned because of his lifestyle and he ends up causing more problems than he intended.
Our Idiot Brother is probably one of the nicest and sweetest films of the year. On the outside it looks like another dumb stoner comedy, but it’s really everything but. The humor is different that’s for sure, but it’s much more charming and heartfelt. The jokes don’t feel like they’re read from a script for the sole purpose of making a laugh-out-loud comedy, instead they feel like they’re contributing to a greater good, which is a family drama.
Director Jesse Peretz has no problem balancing out the comedy and the drama. It’s hard to classify Our Idiot Brother as having any drama because it never really gets to that point. It’s very much a light comedy, but it certainly leads to several dramatic scenes that involve Rudd stretching his incredible acting ability past the usual, “Hey man” jokes. Once those moments happen the films true intentions are revealed. It’s such a great film because of how much heart it really has and how it markets itself as the complete opposite film.
Our Idiot Brother is the feel-good movie of the year. Paul Rudd leads the stellar cast; including the perfectly cast sisters and the slew of extended cameos like T.J. Miller, Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn. Every single person in the film truly understands the purpose of their specific role and it’s that understanding that makes the whole experience feel like one really fun movie. It’s old fashion in how it gets the laughs and it’s a guilt-free comedy that the whole family can enjoy.
Our Idiot Brother features one of the most life-like 1080p transfers I’ve ever seen for a film shot digitally. Colors literally pop right off the screen without any restraint. Detail is very consistent and often times downright beautiful. Skin tones are natural and rarely dull. The whole film in general really shines from start to finish. Bright green tree’s pop out at the beginning of the film and the rest is history.
Anchor Bay has provided the film with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that isn’t as impressive as the video, but still sharp for the films standards. The track is much more downgraded in a regular sense when compared to action-heavy films, but it’s still very focused and clear. Dialogue is the most important part of the film and there is never a problem hearing it. It comes across the front channels with the back adding in the occasional ambient effect. This is very straight-forward approached track, but it works really well.
The biggest disappointment with this disc is the special features. Our Idiot Brother only comes with a few features that aren’t all that extensive. Check out the list below.
- Audio Commentary with Director Jesse Peretz: Peretz delivers an average, by the book commentary track. He discusses the general story, the characters and underlying themes. It’s always interesting to listen to a director when it comes to a rare family comedy like this one. Peretz’s laid back approach offers enough insight.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): A handful of extended and deleted scenes along with an alternate ending. The extended scenes would have dragged the pacing down and the deleted scenes didn’t really offer any more laughs or important plot devices. The alternate ending is kind of a mess because of how it tries to squeeze in a few more characters before the film ends. It tries to wrap things up a little nicer, but it ultimately fails and we should be thankful for the ending we were given.
- The Making of Our Idiot Brother (HD): A quick making of doc that features the cast and crew discussing characters, themes and the general tone of the film. It’s too quick and offers a good look at the relaxed setting they filmed in.
One of the best things about Our Idiot Brother is that it gets better with repeat viewings. There’s just something about its light, heartfelt tone that sinks in. The character of Ned will instantly find a soft spot in you. He’s not the brightest bulb on the tree when it comes to handling stuff in a regular manner, but he always has his heart invested into each and everything that he does. He loves his family and he loves the world and only wants to watch people flourish. His good intentions will rub off onto you and make the viewing one of a kind.
In a day and age where raunchy comedies and realistically dark comic book movies are taking over Our Idiot Brother feels like a trip back to the good old days when things were simple and easy. The jokes are never rude or vulgar, instead there sometimes idiotic and often times charming. Paul Rudd fully embraces the role and Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel all provide vastly different performances as his sisters, but they still find a way to love and accept Ned by the end.
The Blu-Ray is surprisingly top notch in terms of picture and audio. The video transfer is superb and the audio is mostly restrained, but not in a bad way. The only real bummer here is the special features, which are short and to the point. The commentary track is good, but not overly funny or informative and the deleted scenes are nothing more than scenes that didn’t make the cut for a reason. The making of doc resembles the tone of the film, but it’s too short to really get into each and every cast member. It quickly runs through the story and characters with scenes intertwined.
I have no problem firmly recommending Our Idiot Brother on Blu-Ray. The movie is excellent and the Blu-Ray is going to please any fans of the film and impress those looking to blind buy or rent.