Paul Rudd Gives Best Performance of his Career in Charming ‘Our Idiot Brother’ (****)

Monday, August 29, 2011
By Kevin Crossman

Paul Rudd plays sweet and earnest with the best of them but can the actor pull of sweet, earnest, and dumb? More importantly, can he pull that off and make the audience give a damn about the lovable loser he plays in Our Idiot Brother. The answer is the kind of “Yes!” you want to cheer from the rooftops, but the most surprising moment in the film isn’t when Rudd is goofing around or being outsmarted, but instead comes with a very powerful moment where the “idiot” shows that he is the wisest man you could possibly know.

Rudd plays Ned, a hippie who good naturedly sells pot to a uniformed police officer. By the time he gets out of jail, his live-in girlfriend (played by Kathryn Hahn) has replaced him with a younger model (TJ Miller, who is awesome). Worse, Ned cannot take his beloved dog named “Willie Nelson”. Ned then rotates among his sister’s residences in New York City. Each sister has her own issues, and her own reasons for shunning Ned in his time of need. But, over weekly family dinners you can see there is a true unit to the sisterly trio.

Paul Rudd in Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd in Our Idiot Brother

Emily Mortimer plays the oldest sister, Liz. She’s married to a documentary director (Steve Coogan) and have son and baby. While trying not to show her son television, she is nonetheless having marital problems. Elizabeth Banks plays Miranda, an upcoming writer for Vanity Fair who will try to do anything to land a cover story for the magazine (and is in denial about her prospects with her best friend played by Adam Scott). Her part is the most shrill, and Banks skates right up to the edge of unlikability but never quite crosses the line. Youngest sister Natalie is played by Zooey Deschanel and is a struggling comic in a relationship with a focused lawyer played by Rashida Jones.

With each of the sisters having their own issues, the introduction of Ned into their lives only seems to create even more problems and chaos. Everything Ned touches, as they say, turns to shit. Often because Ned unknowinglu says the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. There are several of these in the film and you almost begin to lose patience with character, just as his sisters have. But, finally, all the hard work from the film pays off in a riveting scene featuring the most intense bit of acting I’ve ever seen from Rudd. It’s seriously one of the most electrifying scenes in recent memory.

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

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

The film ties things up maybe a bit too “Hollywoody” for some tastes (a different ending was featured at Sundance) but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing the movie. It simply makes you smile for most of the film ultimately delivers a powerful message about family dynamics and to look to one’s self for your problems and issues rather than outide yourself. Paul Rudd gives what is probably the best performance of his career, so be sure to catch this charming and pleasant film.

4

2 Responses to “Paul Rudd Gives Best Performance of his Career in Charming ‘Our Idiot Brother’ (****)”

  1. Don Cornelius

    Have you featured the trailer for Rogen’s 50/50 yet? — http://www.flixster.com/movie/5050-2011#!lsrc:GSR-MOV-Title

    #12969

Leave a Reply