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Our Idiot Brother

Year: 2011
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: Jesse Peretz
Writer: Jesse Peretz/Evgenia Peretz/David Schisgall
Cast: Paul Rudd, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones, Steve Coogan, T J Miller

There was some hope behind this film as an award contender and it certainly had the stylings of one. Even though it's the essential message, it's a pretty far cry from the usual comedies that show us the black sheep of the family and then preach that they're still family.

We meet Ned (Rudd), a lovable, trusting and eternally optimistic man-child who's also so stupid he sells pot to a uniformed cop and goes to the slammer.

Ned's ways are no trouble while he's out in the country with his flower child girlfriend but when she promptly kicks him out as soon as he gets out of prison, he has to rely on the charity of his family and his flaky, high maintenance sisters and try and get a real job to pay his way.

He starts off with emotionally crippled Liz (Mortimer), wound so tight because of her aloof filmmaker husband's (Coogan) inability to show her any affection she doesn't know which way is up. He goes on to the sexually adventurous Natalie (Deschanel) and proceeds to torpedo her relationship with girlfriend Cindy (Jones), then moves onto journalist Miranda (Banks), unwittingly sabotaging her efforts to get a tell-all interview with a popular but damaged celebrity. The whole time his good intentions wreak havoc all around him, Ned goes between oblivious to bewildered.

The moral of the story is that even though everyone (the audience included) sees Ned as a bumbling moron, in reality it's the rest of us who are chasing paper tigers and not seeing the big picture about the people we love.

There are some good lines and everyone involved has a comic sense of comedy. It was dismissed as an abject failure upon release but has managed to quadruple its tiny budget of $5m.

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