Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

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  • Summary: Every family has one: the sibling who is always just a little bit behind the curve when it comes to getting his life together. For sisters Liz, Miranda and Natalie, that person is their perennially upbeat brother Ned, an erstwhile organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty of mankind is a less-than-optimum strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence. Ned may be utterly lacking in common sense, but he is their brother and so, after his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters once again come to his rescue. As Liz, Miranda and Natalie each take a turn at housing Ned, their brother's unfailing commitment to honesty creates more than a few messes in their comfortable routines. But as each of their lives begins to unravel, Ned’s family comes to realize that maybe, in believing and trusting the people around him; Ned isn’t such an idiot after all. (The Weinstein Company) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Aug 25, 2011
    Our Idiot Brother is smart entertainment.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 25, 2011
    It's sweet, and low-key. It's very '70s in its vibe, which helps when the script veers in and out of formula.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 26, 2011
    Too often ambles into inconsequentiality. And, predictably, Ned becomes a kind of family savior – the idiot becomes the sage. It's Frank Capra for dummies.
  4. Reviewed by: Pam Grady
    Aug 15, 2011
    This is Rudd's movie and he once more displays an unerring eye for comedy. He comes at it from an actor's perspective rather than a comedian's and it shows as his character as hilarious as he is credible.
  5. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Aug 25, 2011
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Aug 24, 2011
    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: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 26, 2011
    The talented actors are game, but they are done in by the shallow nature of their characters, none of whom behaves in a manner remotely resembling real life (they don't really seem to be related, either).

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 29
  2. Negative: 3 out of 29
  1. Oct 2, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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. Expand
  2. Dec 16, 2011
    I loved this movie! It's shocking to see that "Friends with Benefits" scores higher than this movie on metacritic! That just doesn't make any sense to me. Our Idiot Brother is a charming comedy with a solid ensemble cast. The cast is so great together that I just wish more had happened in the movie... But anyway, for what it was I loved it. Expand
  3. Jun 22, 2013
    A pleasant film that provides balanced comedy and heart. Fascinating and likable characters played by talented actors worked well for this film. It was strange, but quite enjoyable. Expand
  4. Aug 29, 2011
    Honestly, this movie was not what I expected but that was not a bad thing. A little less comedy than the trailers display, but the overall goodness of Ned's character makes the audience (as well as other characters) feel the need to be better. I must say the movie was also very well cast from Ned down to Janet's new boyfriend. Not a great movie, but definitely worth checking out. Expand
  5. Apr 22, 2013
    This was better than I had expected. I love Paul Rudd and would marry him in a heartbeat so him just being in a movie makes me somewhat enjoy it. This movie was alright while you were watching it but it's utterly forgettable. You will barely remember it the next day. Expand
  6. Nov 6, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Too American for me/the only 3 people in the film who were not attractive. The mother, the policeman at the market at start and the policeman who closed the jail cell 2wards the end. In a family there are all sizes and looks, not in this one-typically American. Could have done more to make it FUNNY because it wasn't. I agree with BobbyG it is the one critics love to love but the everyday person doesn't really. Expand
  7. Nov 10, 2011
    This movie just promised a lot, and not even the wonderful cast could save it. The story was weak: Ned, the main character does not change, evolve or learn anything of value. Paul Rudd plays it cool but he is no Duderino. He is presented as this hipster messiah come to save us from our vain lives and teach us humility by doing... nothing. The sad truth is that hippies are as prompt to be shallow, egotistical liers as anyone else from this planet. Being lazy and aimless does not make you an honest, kind or caring person. The joke is lost because the film never manages to laugh at itself and is not nearly as illuminating as it pretends to be. Expand

See all 29 User Reviews


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