Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray)
When I originally heard about OUR IDIOT BROTHER I was tentative. The trailer really didn’t excite me but my love for Paul Rudd (ANCHORMAN, I LOVE YOU MAN) kept my interest. The Blu-ray release brought back the feelings of dread, but I am happy to say that OUR IDIOT BROTHER holds its own in the genre and proves that actors can really pull a script (even a weak one) together. Is it one of the best movies of the year? No. Is Ned one of the nicest characterizations Rudd has brought to the screen? Absolutely.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER begins by introducing our primary cast – Ned and his sisters. Ned, trusting and carefree, is tricked in the opening moments to sell marijuana to a cop. After some time in prison, Ned is released for good behavior. When he gets home he discovers that his girlfriend has found another incredibly similar mate (the lovable T.J. Miller) and Ned has to find somewhere else to live while on parole. To make matters worse, his ex refuses to allow him to take his dog, Willie Nelson.
While Ned is trying to figure out what to do, he stays with his sisters Liz, Miranda, and Natalie (played by Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, and Zooey Deschanel, respectively). The sisters are all more sophisticated than their brother, but they tolerate his trouble-free attitude toward life… until he begins living with them. They try to help him by giving him odd jobs, but it seems that everything Ned does brings terrible consequences and alienates his family.
The reason the movie works is two-fold. First, the cast is incredible, absolutely amazing. Not only Rudd, Banks, Deschanel, and Mortimer, who are marvelous as siblings, but also the supporting cast. The movie features Rashida Jones (THE OFFICE) in a wonderful turn as Natalie’s lawyer girlfriend, Adam Scott as Miranda’s neighbor and best friend, and Steve Coogan as Liz’s sleazy husband. They are each tremendous in their roles and play very well into the family dynamics, not to mention nice but quick turns from Bob Stephenson (as the police officer who busts Ned at the start of the movie), Kathryn Hahn (as Janet, Ned’s ex) and the afore-mentioned Miller.
These performances lead to the second reason the movie works – just like Ned, this movie wears its heart on its sleeve. The sibling relationships and the pairings work because they feel (mostly) very real. However, this is not to say that the movie is without flaws. Running at approximately ninety minutes, the last ten actually feel a bit slow and tacked-on. The script is actually rather trite, but some of the improvised moments even out the inconsistencies and make parts of the story work quite well. All in all, though, the movie is enjoyable and provides some nice moments.
Video: (1080p, 1.78:1 Widescreen) This is a nice transfer that will look great on your big screen.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is fine and the dialogue plays well between the characters. However, there aren’t any moments that will put your sister through its paces.
Audio Commentary with Director Jesse Peretz: A decent commentary (which surprised me, because I thought the director was annoying in the featurette), but there are some really long pauses. My favorite point was that Rudd provided notes on the script primarily focused on ensuring that Ned was NOT an idiot, he has just made a conscious choice to believe in the goodness of people. This is the heart that makes the movie work.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (08:56) A few scenes that were cut from the film, including an alternate look at the ending of the movie. Unlike the norm, I actually really enjoyed these scenes and would have liked to see them except for the alternate ending. Included scenes are:
Ned Takes the Subway, Ned Waits for John, Ned in Prison, Alternate Ending
The Making of Our Idiot Brother (14:36) This is the typical making-of featurette and I would have enjoyed it a great deal, but there is an issue with the frame-rate that really bothered me and made my head hurt. Don’t watch this before the movie because it contains quite a few spoilers.