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
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Aug 25, 2011
    88
    Our Idiot Brother is smart entertainment.
  2. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Aug 24, 2011
    83
    I do wish the movie's ending weren't so squishy. It's been changed from the finale that Sundance audiences saw earlier this year and now reeks of focus-group testing.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 29
  2. Negative: 3 out of 29
  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, 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 me laughing all the way through, just don't expect a "laugh-out-loud" movie but its still a must-see. Full Review »