Our Idiot Brother
Back in the 90s when the Weinstein Brothers owned and ran Miramax they rarely let me down. Now that they release films under the banner of Weinstein Films I always know that I will at least respect their product if not fall in love with same. When Miramax was theirs they had Dimension as the sub-unit, which distributed horror and genre films. Nowadays the Weinstein Brothers combine all their efforts under the same roof soOur Idiot Brother has the same label as Scream 57 or Apollo 18. On a side note Miramax continues as a separate distribution entity of Disney and their latest release The Debt is awesome.
Our Idiot Brother is not only a return of form for Paul Rudd but it’s one of the most excellent films of the year. I know that the previous sentence sounds like a blowjob but consider that emotional honesty can often be one of the cruelest yet purest moments of realization one will experience. Our Idiot Brother is being sold in the trailers and ads (what little there are) as a kind of R-rated version of the PG-13 humor that flows through the veins of I Love You Man or Stepbrothers or any of a dozen useless programmers. But Out Idiot Brother is Dostoevsky compared to those idle and forgettable buddy buddy films.
Out Idiot Brother has a stellar cast and as much as this film is about loser dude Rudd and his hapless dog (named Willie Nelson) it’s also a film about the complicated relations between three sisters. Please don’t let this brilliant little film get lost in the morass of 100s of films vying for the unglamorous line-up of the cinema to direct home netflix queue. Out Idiot Brother has a spine and has a purpose and will not go unheralded to those seeking a kind of cinematic spiritual performance. By that I don’t mean that one will be sanctified by seeing same but rather that the film takes you higher and higher into your own psyche and leaves you on a superior level from whence you came.
Rudd has three sisters played by Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, and Elizabeth Banks (possibly channeling Parker Posey). If you want to see a film that revolves around complicated women’s characters see Our Idiot Brother and not The Help. Oddly the director of Our Idiot Brother (Jesse Peretz) also helmed The Chateau, an early entry in the Paul Rudd can act cannon.
Deschanel swings AC/DC but has a strong relation with her lover Rashida Jones (who co-starred opposite Rudd in ILYM); Mortimer has a cheating husband (Steve Coogan); and Banks has got a foot in the door at Vanity Fair although it requires her to write a story for which she must make up facts. Other strong supporting turns from Hugh Dancy and Shirley Knight and Kathryn Hayn suggest that this film was always firing on all cylinders.
“Our brother just fucked up my life,” one sister tells the other on the phone. As much as OIB pretends to be a stoner comedy (there’s very little drinking or smoking) it’s really a wolf of an emotional punch in sheep’s clothing. Somehow before the end this disparate family gets their shit together and rescues the dog, and comes together in love. Elated is how you will feel after seeing Our Idiot Brother.
– Michael Bergeron