"I'm Ned Rockland. Why're you talkin' so slow?"
"I just figured -- lookin' at your sheet, it says you sold grass to a uniformed police officer -- that you must be retarded."
"Yeah, I get that a lot."
Our Idiot Brother is...movie...and camera...people act and funny... Wait, wait, this isn't working. There's something I've just gotta get out of my system first:
Ah, there we go! Sweet, sweet release. I guess for full disclosure and all, I should mention that I can't really pan a movie that has Zooey Deschanel and Rashida Jones making out. Maybe I'm a cheap date, and maybe I'm an awful human being, but I'm not gonna pretend to be unbiased here.
Wait, where was I? Oh yeah! The plot summary part of the deal. The problem with Ned (Paul Rudd) isn't that he's an idiot; he's just so earnest and so eager to put his trust in his fellow man that it comes back to bite him in the ass. A lot. Anyway, after selling a dimebag or whatever to an on-duty police officer with the badge and the uniform
Our Idiot Brother is one of those movies you put on after a late lunch on Sunday, smile at for an hour and a half, put back in the case, and pretty much immediately forget about. That's kind of by design too. It doesn't aim for oversized, cackle-till-you-dryheave belly laughs. It's funny in a kind of subdued, relaxed way...not from labored dialogue shoehorned into the script or wildly over-the-top comedic setpieces, but because the characters have a hell of a lot of personality and because Our Idiot Brother is so. perfectly. cast. There's a healthy balance of drama in the mix, and again, it's kind of restrained, not drenched in syrupy strings and leaving you fumbling for that box of Kleenex on the coffee table. Our Idiot Brother keeps it all pretty low-key. Because there's nothing big or ambitious about it, this isn't a movie that's likely to spark a whole lot of conversation afterwards. You're not gonna be talking about it for days on end, you're not going to excitedly grab it off the shelf the next time one of your close friends drops by, and you're not gonna rant and/or
The material's fine but forgettable. Since Our Idiot Brother really isn't swinging for the fences, you won't groan at any of the gags or roll your eyes at any of the more emotional stuff. Ned is pretty much a Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a full beard and a dong: a little imp who bounces into the lives of his uptight, neurotic sisters to show them how much love and happiness they have at their fingertips that's been going unappreciated, and even though things go kind of disastrously wrong along the way, Ned isn't really to blame for any of it and it all ends happily ever after. With pretty much any other group of actors on the bill, Our Idiot Brother would be just another competent, totally routine indie comedy/drama you'd skim past on the On Demand listings or whatever. But...geez, this is kind of approaching Dream Cast territory. Seriously, name ten actors you love watching in comedies, and it's a pretty safe bet at least half of 'em are somewhere in here. (If it's any less than that, you probably have shitty taste. Sorry.) Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, T.J. Miller, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer...they're the ones who make Our Idiot Brother what it is. This is a cast with charm to spare, and they infuse their characters with so much life and personality that they greatly elevate the somewhat standard-issue indie comedy material. If you're a fan of any of these actors -- and bonus points if you're a fan of several! -- you'll probably walk away a fan of Our Idiot Brother too. Cute, charming, and...okay, lightweight and totally disposable, but I like it anyway. Recommended.
The Pretty doesn't stop with that gaggle of gorgeous actresses on the bill. Our Idiot Brother looks terrific in high-def, boasting a silky smooth texture, a really strong sense of definition, and a nicely saturated palette. The movie was shot on the Red One, and there's that flattish contrast and very faint tinge of softness -- especially around edges -- that I'm kind of used to seeing in productions lugging around that particular camera, but that's not even a little bit distracting or disappointing. Our Idiot Brother doesn't really stumble on its way to Blu-ray either, not dragged down by any hiccups in the compression, artificial sharpening, excessive filtering, or whatever else you'd normally want to gripe about. A nice lookin' disc and a very substantial upgrade over anything DVD could hope to deliver.
Our Idiot Brother is dished out on a single-layer Blu-ray disc. The movie's presented at the straightahead aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and has been encoded with AVC.
As if you hadn't really clued into this by now, Our Idiot Brother isn't the type of movie that's overflowing with aggressive split-surrounds and a foundation-rattling LFE so much. The emphasis is squarely placed on
No dubs or anything this time around. Subtitles are limited to English (SDH) and Spanish.
There's not a dedicated blooper reel or anything, but some of that stuff does play during Our Idiot Brother's end credits if you stick around.
The Final Word
Our Idiot Brother isn't trying to be some laff-a-minute comedy cavalcade sort of thing, so if you waltz in expecting a riotous Apatow flick or whatever, you're setting yourself up for a disappointment. No, Our Idiot Brother is exactly the movie it sets out to be: sweet, charming, quietly funny, and kinda touching. It's one of those low-key indie comedy/dramas that lives and dies on the strength of its cast, and...well, it'd be tough to come up with more of a dream cast than the one Our Idiot Brother has put together. It's a confection -- thin, sweet, sugary, and kind of a distant memory once you've finished gobbling it up -- but I was kind of won over by Our Idiot Brother anyway. I guess the short answer is that if you like the cast, you can't help but like the movie. So, yeah: Recommended.
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