Our Idiot Brother (2011)

Real men wear crocs.

Ned (Paul Rudd) is a seemingly clueless idealist who must rely upon his three exasperated sisters (Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel) for shelter and support after he’s dumped by his fed-up girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn) and loses custody of his beloved dog, Willie Nelson. As he wreaks havoc on his sisters’ lives, Ned’s earnestness shines through until his siblings realize that family ties take priority over wealth and position.

I’m a huge fan of Paul Rudd so when I heard that he was going to get his own vehicle, practically playing the same guy he always plays, I was uber excited. However, there could have been a better film for that vehicle.

The script here is one of the major problems because it seems like the same thing over and over again. We get Rudd moving in with his sisters and one-by-one shows how each and everyone of them are so incredibly shallow and bad, just by being himself and gets kicked out of all of their houses. But then when all the sissies are pissed at Rudd, have them all apologize and try to get his love back, with a sub-plot from a dog named Willie Nelson.

It’s also a problem when the film also has one of those deals where all the humor is in the two-minute trailer clip, and the rest is all obvious and cheesy drama. I expected some pretty funny stuff here not only with the talent involved, but because of the plot and the actual title which seems like a title from a Marx Brothers or Three Stooges flick. It’s just that too much of it here is way too serious and thin to actually laugh at.

However, the things I liked about this film weren’t completley over-shadowed by the bad. I liked Ned’s out-look on life and just how damn simple and happy everything was in his life. This guy is just really cool, nice, and sweet to everyone to the point of where he gives practically every person he meets, a chance to do good. I wish there were more people like this that I knew in the world and I wish that the script didn’t just rely on this great character for some cheap gags.

Also, the cast is pretty alright here even though they have all done things 100000 times better than this, mainly Paul Rudd. Paul Rudd plays Ned the same way he plays every character in any of his film but he’s just so damn likable that it’s almost too hard to be annoyed by his coolness. He sees good in everyone and although everybody around him are a bunch of dicks, he still stays cool and true to himself, which is what Paul Rudd has always been able to show off well.

The rest of the cast does what they can but they all are just too one-note to actually seem believable and nobody really does anything funny. Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer play Ned’s sisters and do what they can but a lot of the time they just seem like their complaining about how bad Ned makes them seem, when they should because their all terrible people. Rashida Jones, Steve Coogan, Adam Scott, and Kathryn Hahn are also here as well and do their own thangs but really aren’t that funny.

It’s also a shame that the funniest member of the cast was T.J. Miller as the organic farmer named Billy, who has about 10 lines, which all seem ad-libbed, but is so cool and funny that’s almost hard not to forget him from an almost terribly forgettable film. It’s just such a shame that this whole cast really looks amazing but do nothing here in a film that takes itself way too seriously, and I think in the hands of Judd Apatow, this could have really been something hilarious, but instead just whatever.

Consensus: Paul Rudd is charming and the film has it’s fair shares of sweet moments, but Our Idiot Brother is too thinly written, too serious, and just too much of a huge comedic let-down to actually be one of the most memorable comedies I have ever seen, but it’s just OK.



  1. Shame the film doesn’t meet up to the promise. I really like Paul Rudd and it would be great to see him in a leading role which really shows his talents. I might still try to see this – but won’t rush out to see it in the cinema.

  2. Yeah, I’d wait to rent it too unless there’s literally nothing better out… I didn’t hate it by any means but you’re right – alot of the funny moments were in the trailer (Kinda like Bad Teacher). But hey, I’m also tired of the crude, in your face humor so it was a bit refreshing.

  3. Yes, real men do wear crocs! I too have been known to rock out with my crocs out. This is a very well written review, I do disagree with a few of your points but still I think you are pretty accurate. I guess I don’t really think of it as a true comedy and I think that’s what helps me be able to enjoy it. I’m just glad it wasn’t the type of comedy where you end up being pissed pissed off the whole time because another character is messing with him like Meet the Parents. You knew the sisters were selfish yet they love their “Idiot Brother” it just takes them a while to realize it.

    • True, but I still couldn’t get by how formulaic everything was and nothing really new for me to watch. But still I chuckled and had a reasonably good time. Thanks Christy!

  4. I’m thinking about seeing this today, and thanks to your review will go in looking at it as a light comedy rather than a full-blown laugh fest. I think that will help my viewing. 🙂

  5. Nice review, Dan. Too bad you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. Good call on TJ Miller — he really bugged me in the beginning for some reason, but he won me over by the end.

  6. I agree with most of your review, however, I would argue that the repetition wasn’t as purposeless as you may first assume. I’d argue that the repetition was not only necessary for the plot, but required by the one of the motifs of the film: family-love.
    From the beginning of the film, though Ned seeks his family in times of need, and since they all need him (though reluctantly and obliviously), he must fix each of their sister’s lives. The culmination of this love for his family is explicitly stated by his need to have a family night, before he returns to jail – the scene is further emphasized by Ned’s only furious words. The film could have indeed acquired more diversity by letting Ned influence the life of a more diverse set of people, but it wouldn’t have sustained the motif of family-love.
    That being said, this is a very good review!

    • Thank you Xavier! My problem was that too much of this just felt like the same thing over and over again with nothing really new going on and just the same old crap.

  7. I see you felt the same about ‘Our Idiot Brother’ that I did. It’s so middle of the road. It’s neither the worst or best film that has come out this year, but you’d think it’d be a little bit better considering the buzz it had coming out of festival season.

  8. In total agreement about T.J. Miller in this film as Billy the organic farmer/ candle maker. Also felt the trailers for this film did it a grave disservice. Alot of the more negative review are stating they thought it was going to be rolling in the aisles funny but its not that kind of film.

  9. Awesome review, and thanks for commenting on mine. I agree with you to the point where Paul Rudd played himself.. and although he was an ‘idiot’ in I Love You, Man as well, I really liked him in this. Also I was literally laughing my ass off everytime T.J. Miller said anything. He reminded me of his character from She’s Out of My League, which I also loved. I see where you’re coming from with the sisters but I liked how he helped each of them in a certain way. I thought the whole wrap up was great which is why I gave it a higher rating.

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