Friday, November 18, 2011

Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, and Rashida Jones in "Our Idiot Brother"

*** out of ****

Paul Rudd's film career has spent the past decade with a concentration in comedy. While the man is meant for more genres, I can't deny, he's a deadpan genius. "Our Idiot Brother" shows off his knack for timing as he subtly coveys the gears of his character's head having trouble turning. It's so refreshing to see someone play a dim hippie stoner without doing a Slater ("Dazed and Confused") voice.

As he involves himself in the lives of his three sisters, the scene stealer is, no surprise, Elizabeth Banks who's always great.

I should take this opportunity to point out a woman who I love so much I'm going to look up her name on IMDB... Here she is: Kathryn Hahn. What an amazing talent. Why? Because she disappears into every role I've ever seen her in. It's the versatile ones who don't get the fame and I suppose most of them like it that way.  It's amazing that this was the sister-in-law in "Step Brothers" and the repressed housewife in "Revolutionary Road". In this movie, she plays Rudd's ex-girlfriend and a total hippie-crite without an ounce of compassion. 

This movies comedy seems to be immersed in a left wing world and hippies are still the biggest joke in the scheme of where the laughs are directed. The protagonist has a Jesus persona. Is this movie calling Jesus a dumb hippie? Maybe.

Rudd's character is always doing the right thing because it rarely occurs to him when doing the right thing may compromise his standing with family, the law, and self-preservation. There are identifiable scenarios of idealistic yet idiotic behavior in this movie because we've either known someone like this or we've caught ourselves being this way.

The weak part is something that comes along with many comedies: It sometimes seems to shift between the sincere and the insincere. This is something I'm likely to grow used to with repeat viewings but it always bothers me on the initial experience. I am losing my objectivity if I forget to ask myself if I laughed anyway -and yes, I certainly did.
Here's a slightly less favorable review from the AV club.

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