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Our Idiot Brother movie poster

Our Idiot Brother: Movie Review

Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Directed by: Jesse Peretz

Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Rashida Jones, Hugh Dancy, Kathryn Hahn
Released by: The Weinstein Company

In Short: Despite a cast of well-known comedic actors including Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks, "Our Idiot Brother" lacks laughs and falls flat.

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Few Laughs in This Family Dramady

With a movie title like "Our Idiot Brother," one would expect a laugh-filled family comedy to unspool on the big screen. Unfortunately, in the case of this flick, the laughs are few and the family is seriously dysfunctional.

Perhaps if all the previews were not touting this as a riotous comedy starring Paul Rudd, it might be easier to enjoy. Rudd is a guy who definitely knows how to make people laugh out loud in movies like "Knocked Up" and "I Love You, Man," and the previews for "Our Idiot Brother" do look funny. But this is one of those cases where all the most amusing bits are in the ads, as they lure you into believing that it is going to be a laugh fest. Sadly, you're sure to be disappointed if you buy in.

The story is pretty simple. Rudd plays Ned, the dope-smoking, organic-farming hippie brother of three high-strung females. He is pretty dumb, and gets himself arrested by selling marijuana to an in-uniform police officer. Off to jail he goes, and when he gets out, he moves from one sister's home to another's, wreaking emotional havoc along the way. However, he's an idiot with a gentle soul, and somehow along the way he makes a difference in his sisters' lives.

Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd and Emily Mortimer in Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd in Our Idiot Brother

The sisters, played by the often-funny Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer, are a collective mess. Miranda (Banks) is a go-getter at Vanity Fair, willing to break any and all ethical rules to get a story; Natalie (Deschanel) is a lesbian stand-up comedian who cannot even get a titter out of her audiences; and Liz (Mortimer) is a wife and mother whose marriage to a nasty Brit is imploding. As Ned roams around in their lives, saying inappropriate things and spreading his ideals of truth and honesty, they all eventually learn valuable lessons from their "idiot brother."

"Our Idiot Brother" doesn't really know what it wants to be. Is it a comedy? Nope. Is it a drama? Not that, either. Is it an innocuous film with a few light chuckles mixed with sad moments, one that is more suited to watching on cable television or on an airplane than in a movie theater? Yep. Is it a late-summer, dog days of August film release that will disappear from theaters two weeks after it comes out? You bet.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters


(Updated: 08/26/11 CT)

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