Our Idiot Brother
You might not guess it from the title, but Our Idiot Brother is a little more drama than comedy. The film stars Paul Rudd as Ned, a nice enough guy whose naiveté tends to get him into trouble. One day, while peddling his organic produce at the local farmer’s market, he sells weed to a uniformed police officer, taking pity on the cop’s story that he had a “bad week.” That lands him in jail, separating him from his dog, Willie Nelson, and his girlfriend, Janet (Kathryn Hahn). When he’s released, he heads back to the farm only to discover that a stoner named Billy (T.J. Miller) has taken his place. While Ned bonds with the laid-back Billy, he’s forced to leave, relying first on his mother and later on his sisters for places to crash.
In the course of his couch surfing, Ned gets to spend a little quality time with his trio of female siblings. Sister Liz (Emily Mortimer) and her overprotected son River (Matthew Mindler) enjoy Ned, but self-centered film director husband and dad, Dylan (Steve Coogan) doesn’t share their enthusiasm. After Ned gets the boot, he moves on to accelerate the relationship turmoil of bi-curious and bohemian sister Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) and thwarts the somewhat shady journalistic ambitions of sister Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) with his simple honesty.
There’s not much of an arc to this story and the movie’s main point (that it’s ultimately a better path to tell the truth, trust people, and love unconditionally even if it makes others believe you’re an idiot), though charming in its simplicity and set to a snappy little soundtrack dappled with Willie Nelson tunes, is driven home a little too forcefully. Still, Rudd is terrific as the ultra-casual Ned, and Miller, who doesn’t get enough screen time, is even better as his slightly more clueless doppelganger.