Comedic timing is everything in, you know, a comedy, but bad dialogue, awkward timing and stilted delivery make “Our Idiot Brother” as dysfunctional as its characters.
Each of the talented cast members of “Our Idiot Brother” has been at the top of his or her games for the past several years, but even they couldn’t salvage the stitched together screenplay by David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz. Paul Rudd stars as Ned, a loser who on parole after attempting to sell pot to a uniformed police officer. Dumped by his girlfriend and homeless, Ned bounces from sibling to sibling looking for a place to settle and start anew. Naïve Ned’s brutal honesty quickly unravels each of his sisters’ (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel) lives. Consequently the sisters all turn on each other, drawing out their own insecurities and faults.
“Our Idiot Brother” starts out as a stoner comedy but attempts to become more of a mirror, reflecting the unspoken jealousies and secrets that form the modern family. The plot may have been more engaging and successful if the characters weren’t so forcibly caricatures of Generation X-ers.
It’s obvious the cast had a great time working together. There are fleeting sparks of excitement among them, especially between Banks and Rudd. If the cast had better material and solid direction, the payoff could have been greater.
Steve Coogan and Emily Mortimer bring some much needed grounding to the film. Their relationship as a struggling married couple is the most effective in the film, utilizing the sharp, biting situational humor that the rest of the film is lacking.
“Our Idiot Brother” attempts to use comedy as a means to show each and every one of us that honesty is the greatest weapon and family trumps all. It’s just too bad “Our Idiot Brother” is as absent minded as Ned.
2 Stars out of 5