90 minutes | MPAA rating: R
The only person likely to win any awards for “Our Idiot Brother” is the anonymous editor who cut the trailer. This unsung hero took an aggressively unfunny comedy and so effectively manipulated bits and pieces as to evoke potential ticket buyers’ memories of other, much funnier Paul Rudd films like “I Love You Man.”
But make no mistake, this is bottom-drawer stuff that, by all rights, should have shuffled straight off to home video.
And what makes it even more discombobulating is that “Brother” wastes a slew of good comic actors.
Ned (Rudd) may not be precisely an idiot, but he’s slow enough on the uptake to be in perennial trouble. Also he cannot lie. When a cop in uniform asks him for some weed, Ned takes pity on the poor flatfoot and sells him some. Result: Prison.
Newly out, Ned is passed back and forth among his three sisters. His childlike pechant for honesty gets him in one scrape after another.
Sister Liz (Emily Mortimer) doesn’t appreciate it when Ned reveals that her filmmaker husband (Steve Coogan in typical supercilious mode) is having an affair with the ballerina who is the subject of his latest documentary.
Sister Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), a magazine journalist, tries to use a source’s off-the-record comments in her latest piece. Ned calls her on it.
And Sister Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), in a relationship with another woman (Rashida Jones), doesn’t appreciate Ned letting it slip that she’s pregnant by an artist friend.
The best that can be said for this film from director Jesse Peretz and writers David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz is that the hirsute Rudd (he looks like a very happy Jesus) exudes a sweetness that helps make up (though not nearly enough) for the script’s lack of cleverness and wit.
I mean, didn’t anybody read the screenplay?
| Robert W. Butler