Our Idiot Brother

Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 26, 2011
    60
    Despite a pleasantly laid-back demeanor, you wish it would just get focused.
  2. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Aug 25, 2011
    60
    Like Nicole Holofcener's "Please Give" (2010), this turns on the friction between an unusually altruistic character and the self-centered people around him, though screenwriters David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz never pursue their premise into the sort of moral comedy that so distinguished the other movie.
  3. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Aug 24, 2011
    60
    Apart from the disastrously miscast Deschanel's dithering switch-hitter, the film's extended clan of uptight urbanites rings true - though their course-corrections don't.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 24, 2011
    60
    The rest of the cast is fine, actually, but Rudd spares nothing in making Ned a lovable loser, with the emphasis on "loser."
  5. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Aug 25, 2011
    58
    Our Idiot Brother lives in a sort of relaxed in-between place where it doesn't really bite as drama or comedy, but the movie's world-class cast and big heart push it over.
  6. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Aug 24, 2011
    58
    Rudd ably carries the film while retaining a light touch, though even with Rudd in the lead, it's still a featherweight trifle, an afternoon nap of a feel-good comedy.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 22, 2011
    58
    Hiding behind a shaggy beard and a stoner grin, Paul Rudd plays an amusingly oblivious shlub in Our Idiot Brother, but the movie can't keep up with his comic inspiration.
  8. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Sep 1, 2011
    50
    Ultimately a shambling tale told with genial grace but little substance. It provides a pleasant buzz while it unfolds but vanishes quickly in a puff of smoke.
  9. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Aug 28, 2011
    50
    The ensemble is unwieldy and the attendant yarn much too cluttered.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 25, 2011
    50
    Our Idiot Brother comes off as a blueprint for a smart script no one really made. Now that's what I call dumb.
  11. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 25, 2011
    50
    There are times when Our Idiot Brother possesses a loping, genial sweetness. But it lacks conviction, and it doesn't hold a beeswax candle to such similarly themed films as "You Can Count on Me" and "Momma's Man."
  12. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 24, 2011
    50
    It's tame and rather bland, and the laughter it generates is half-hearted. Director Jesse Peretz commits the unpardonable sin of wasting the considerable comedic talent of Paul Rudd.
  13. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 15, 2011
    50
    Shambles along with all the purposefulness of its title character, a kind of near-beer Lebowski who's neither reckless enough to cheer for nor misguided enough to disdain.
  14. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Aug 15, 2011
    50
    Picture needs every ounce of goodwill it can wring from Rudd's likable lead performance to offset a sour, borderline misogynistic streak for which scattered snickers offer only modest compensation.
  15. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Aug 23, 2011
    40
    Its roundelay of shallow types (played by beautiful movie stars) treating one another badly, and having whiny conversations about said treatment, is such a whisper-soft version of social critique that it makes the autobiographical films of Nicole Holofcener (Please Give, Friends With Money) look as cutting as the films of Jean Eustache.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 102 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Sep 21, 2011
    4
    Typical precious indie comedy, way too pleased with itself to make it worth watching. It's one of those films the critics love to love, butTypical precious indie comedy, way too pleased with itself to make it worth watching. It's one of those films the critics love to love, but audiences don't really enjoy. Full Review »
  2. Oct 2, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Elizabeth and her sisters think that Ned is an idiot. Only their half-employed hippie brother, a biodynamic farmer, would sell marijuana to a policeman. Worse yet, this bust was no undercover sting in which a plain clothes cop posed as some chronic in order to entrap the unsuspecting seller. Uniformed and on-duty, Ned could plainly see it was a cop, and yet he still made the unwise transaction, in broad daylight, no less, with a little rhubarb on the side for appearance's sake. The Rochlin girls don't suffer fools gladly, so the moviegoer can imagine Ned's sisters regaling themselves with the same story, while their brother grew a Jesus beard during his eight-month sentence in prison. But you had to be there, and you have to know the son of God, whose job it was to heal the sick, so Ned, Jesus incarnate, seeing that the law officer needed Mary Jane for his weary soul, offered the man her services, then pays the price. Ned is a christ figure. While crashing with Liz, in his capacity as the cool uncle, he introduces Inspector Clouseau, the idiot detective, to her sheltered boy River by showing him "The Pink Panther". The Peter Sellers film establishes a subtext, but it's not the bumbling Frenchman's genetic code that courses through Ned's blood, since slapstick, with the exception of the familial freeloader slamming the door on his nephew's fingers, is not the comedy tradition at work here; it's satire, of the deadpan variety, as Paul Rudd channels the mentally retarded gardener from "Being There", where at the end of the 1979 classic, Chauncey Gardiner walks on water, like Jesus. This miracle explains why the man who raised Chauncey never allowed him to leave the premises. Maybe the government would lock his boy up; a government that would resist ceding their power back to the church, transforming the country back into a theocracy. In the seventies, there was still such a thing as separation from church and state. Apparently, Ashby saw the future. "I like to watch," Chauncey says, who spends his whole life in front of a T.V., just as earth must be one big program to god, a couch potato himself, in the sense that all he does is observe the human struggle with the same indifference as the idiot gardener. Whereas "Network" anticipated FOX news, "Being There", anticipated the rise of the evangelical president. The two films complete each other. In the final scene, after taking leave from his rich friend's funeral, Chauncey wanders through the woods, faintly recalling former President George W. Bush on his ranch. Back at the service, the gardener's name is bandied about among the pallbearers as a potential presidential candidate; pallbearers who seem to hold the real power. The aging men need Chauncey because they lack his charisma and don't look good on television. Ben, a conservative ideologue, perhaps, knew all along that Chauncey was an idiot, and knew he would make the perfect chief executive puppet for his people to pull the strings on, and be at their beck and call. Maybe Ned had the makings of a president, but like Harold(Sellers, again), in "I Love You Alice B. Toklas", some hippie chick(maybe it was that dognapper Janet) baked him some pot brownies and transformed him into a bohemian. Like Chauncey, whose ruminations on the garden turns the general public into idiots, misconstruing his every prosaic utterance as minimalist wisdom, Ned also has the talent of making imbeciles out of folks by simply being there. While all the Wall Street devils who were selling false dreams to a duped nation got off scot free, a cop sends an immaculate agriculturist to prison. Jesus Christ, indeed. Later, as a favor to his wife, the documentary filmmaker husband lets Ned assist him, and on one of Dylan's shoots, a ballet academy, he catches both the director and dancer in various states of undress. When he recounts the incident to Miranda, the middle sister can't beleive how her brother fell for the adulterer's story about his nakedness being part of an artistic process. But as a christ figure, Ned wouldn't consider nudity a sin. Genesis teaches us that Eve wasn't conscious of her exposed body until she took a bite from the serpent's apple, so Tatiana, with her ballerina's reputation for eating very little, would explain why Ned saw nothing wrong with the set-up. Metaphorically, the apple went untouched. Ned knows his commandments though, punishing Natalie for breaking number 7("You shall not commit adultery") when she cheats on Cindy, and then punishing Miranda for breaking number 9("You shall not steal"), after the Vanity Fair writer takes the words from a socialite to use in her article, which were only meant for Ned's ears. The idiot brother also creates miracles; he doesn't walk on water, but how can you explain a dog named Willie Nelson meeting another dog name Dolly Parton? That's more than mere happenstance; that's a divine act. Full Review »
  3. Sep 5, 2011
    8
    Just a fantastic Paul Rudd movie. His overall character was a great idea and the movie flowed very well with its subtle humor. It kept meJust a fantastic Paul Rudd movie. His overall character was a great idea and the movie flowed very well with its subtle humor. It kept me laughing all the way through, just don't expect a "laugh-out-loud" movie but its still a must-see. Full Review »