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Quint loves the Paul Rudd comedy MY IDIOT BROTHER at Sundance 2011!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with another Sundance report for ya’. Don’t worry, it’s not another review of a depressingly sad documentary, I swear.

No, My Idiot Brother will be a film you see released to 1200+ theaters whenever they get picked up. And they will get picked up. The cast is a comedy dream team. Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Steve Coogan and Emily Mortimer are the known names, but there are a ton of recognizable faces throughout.

It has the cast, but more importantly it has the right tone. Imagine Chauncey Gardiner with a dash of Tommy Chong and you have Paul Rudd’s Ned. Yeah, he’s kind of a man-child, but not in the traditional immature Judd Apatow way. He’s a free spirit, with a child’s innocence and optimistic outlook. He doesn’t know how to be dishonest or mean. In short he’s kind of the dream friend, always laid back, always cool, always there with a smile.

Writers Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall and Director Jesse Peretz are very smart people. They populate this movie with people you’d want to hang out with. Rudd is awesome and his extended family are all very interesting, just flawed enough to make them feel real.

After being busted for selling pot to a cop (a uniformed cop, no less… told you the dude was trusting beyond rationality) Rudd goes through a nasty separation and ends up homeless and dogless. His dog, Willie Nelson (not played by Willie Nelson), is kept by his bitchy hippie ex and Rudd’s left with nothing.

The situation explodes when Rudd shows up at his family home and is essentially passed around from sister to sister, each one comfortable in their lives, and acts as a bit of a reset button for them all. Through him just being him, Rudd shines a light on the dishonesty they all live with and the fact that he can not keep his mouth shut means all dirty laundry is eventually aired.

Going into the movie I knew there was a certain level of guarantee with just Rudd in the lead. The dude’s charming enough to shoulder even the most bulky mess of a movie (see How Do You Know). The real surprise was just how heartfelt the whole thing came off. It is one of those rare movies, like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, that is hilariously funny, but is also incredibly emotional.

It’s also a good movie for movie lovers. They don’t make spoof-like homages, but you’ll recognize a few things if you love you some movies. I mentioned Being There already, but my favorite tip of the hat was how they recreated the Manhattan poster. I won’t spoil it for you, but I had a good laugh.

I know people love to bitch about Sundance featuring these big star studded movies, but films like My Idiot Brother, which was filmed without a distribution deal, depend on festivals like Sundance to actually stand a chance. There’s no way any studio would greenlight this movie, but I guarantee you there’ll be a bidding war over the finished product. There’s an unconventional love interest for Rudd that has one of the best “chase her down in the street” moments in a movie ever, there’s more drama than usual for a comedy and more comedy than usual for a drama, there’s no action sequence (unless you count a recreation of a Clouseau/Kato fight).

This festival is important because it forces buyers to be in the same room as a paying audience (remember, these tickets are $15 a pop or more if you count ticket package prices) and that’s the reason you always see a glut of comedies and horror movies bought out of festivals. Those rooms are essentially a preview to a buyer that a film works and there’s no better way to convince a money guy that he’ll get his investment back than putting him right in the middle of a reactive crowd.

That’s a double edged sword as well. A horror movie played opening night, filled with buyers and it was terrible. There was some polite applause, but also some hissing as the movie ended (I think that’s a Sundance thing, I never hear hissing in bad movies anywhere else, but it happens a lot here). You haven’t seen a bidding war erupt over Silent House, have you?

So, let me climb down off my soap box and finish off this review by saying that My Idiot Brother is a great film that isn’t afraid to be a little low brow with the humor and a little high brow with the drama. Oh, and you get gratuitous Steve Coogan nudity. That has to be worth an extra half star at least, right?

 

 

If you want an up to the minute account of what I’m seeing and my immediate verdict on Sundance flicks as I see them be sure to follow me on Twitter!

-Quint
quint@aintitcool.com
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  • Jan. 23, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST

    looks good.

    by damned-dirty-ape

    Paul Rudd always does a good job, even if the film he's in isn't up to much

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Oooo, the Little Miss Sunshine comparison doesn't bode well

    by IndustryKiller!

    But maybe it's just an over generalization. Rudd is typically excellent. And hopefully the drama isn't just a deeper level of quirk disguised as cheap profundity like LMS.

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 5:19 p.m. CST

    This site has been on its game lately

    by Box_Bruceleitner

    Keep em' comin', Quint, great work!

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 5:26 p.m. CST

    "No wonder he's in this thread. "

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...WTFUCKERS?! If DDA has bad taste in films and posted in a TB about a film he may like, why is someone who does have "good taste" in movies posting in a TB he know he will not like seriously AICN... are you guys punkin me with this retard? PS: Ill watch anything Paul Rudd is in... because come on, dude is funny. Also, he can beat Michael Myers down with a pipe. #FACT!

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST

    My Idiot Brother, such a fitting title

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    for Ryan if he has any siblings... so do ya have any siblings, Ryan?

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Ryan the Retard

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    you cant hurt my feelings by giving a actor I never met before a middle name. once again, try again (or at least ask your mom to help you out...even though Im pretty sure she is even rooting for me to shut you up)

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Rashida Jones ?

    by Itchy

    My boner likes the sound of this movie. A lot.

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 7:36 p.m. CST

    www.reverbnation.com/thewholemtaistapped

    by JAMES S. LIAR

    i deal more in conspiracy theories or facts sundance kid or man doesn't interest me much sincerly ghost 100.

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Rudd's never made me laugh...

    by MST3KPIMP

    Banks, Zooey and Jones play the same character everytime also with zero laughs and throwing in Chong sounds lazy.."Evil Bong" anyone? Steve Coogan can be brilliant but he can also be unremarkable. Rudd is funny in theory but seems to cater to young women with cutesy humor that makes them giggle kinda like Jimmy Fallon except Fallon actually makes me smile once in a while.

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 9:01 p.m. CST

    mst3kpimp, not even in Anchorman?

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    I will let you have your opinion of Rudd, but to say Rudd never made you laugh (or smile like Jimmy Fallon apparently does) in all his appearances in comedies (mainstream and "indie") seems very unbelievable. I dont like Dane Cook, but even I could admit (sadly) that he has made me laugh at least twice. but if Rudd truly never did, then dang

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Keep the Sundance reviews coming

    by theBigE

    Thanks Quint, Rav, and others here posting these Sundance Reviews. Paul Rudd has a natural charm - likable guy from Clueless, the first time I remember seeing him in a film. Why are TB'ers so cynical all the time?

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 9:22 p.m. CST

    Anchorman did'nt make me laugh either..

    by MST3KPIMP

    I dunno, I cannot fathom the love the film gets.. just seems so calculated that it fails from the start. Rudd was quite stale on SNL to as I recall being outdone comically by Sir Paul McCartney no less.

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 9:42 p.m. CST

    to each their own mst3kpimp

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    but Anchorman is indeed funny as shit. may I ask what you find to be funny (if you say Napolean Dynamite, Im done with you professionally)

  • Jan. 23, 2011, 11:47 p.m. CST

    Alot of shit..

    by MST3KPIMP

    I probably like most stuff you do "except Anchorman".. Theatricaly I find few movies I laugh at The Other Guys was good, Youth in Revolt and Observe and Report. Whatever Works. I liked Role Models but Rudd did'nt make me laugh. Did'nt like I love you Man. I like "Good Stuff" from Mel & Albert Brooks, Steve Martin Eddie Murphy ect. I can laugh alot at some of Sandler and Stillers things so I'm all over the place. I find most of my comedy favorites comes from t.v. Curb Your Enthusiasm, SNL/SCTV, I thought the 2 new IFC shows this week Onion News and Portlandia were great.. I like the Ben Stiller Show and Larry Sanders. Favorite recent comedy show is Louie on FX. Stuff I DON'T care for is Arrested Development, Family Guy, 30 Rock, Scrubs, Modern Family, It's always Sunny and most every obnoxious modern comedy that is overly self-aware, relies on flashbacks and wacky editing to suggest to you where to laugh. Oh ya and Benny Hill rules!

  • Jan. 24, 2011, 12:48 a.m. CST

    You had me at "Clouseau/Cato" fight...

    by DickBallsworth

    And yes, it's Cato with a C. Kato with a K is the Green Hornet's raving Oriental lunatic manservant. Yes.

  • Jan. 24, 2011, 1:22 a.m. CST

    yea, mst3kpimp, we're done professionally

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    everything you was saying was ok until you said you didnt like Arrested Development... so, with that said, I respectfully say we're done professionally... but keep your pimp hand strong, pimp

  • Jan. 24, 2011, 7:48 a.m. CST

    braindrain's 1 day hiatus

    by NightArrows

    Your big "leave" was short lived huh? With regards to The Other Guys, yeah, there were a few good moments, but as a whole that film was painful! Comedy is hilariously subjective. One man's "this is funny as fuck" is another man's "I didn't laugh once", and the subjectivity always gets ignored of course and the arguments ensue with "how do you find (____) funny?" Which is akin to saying "why do you like the colour red???". As for Rudd, I've never found him to be hilarious, or even that funny, but he can play a good straight man, and is a decent trampoline for others to work their material off of.

  • Jan. 24, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    nightarrow

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    dont use big words like hiatus... but yea, Other Guys was funnier than I expected (the jump to death, Wahlberg with Eva, Will a pimp). I understand comedy and everything else in life, is subjective... but that doesnt mean I have to continue discussing topics with people who have far different tastes from me Im not gonna discuss porn with someone who likes kiddie porn (not saying mst3kpimp likes kiddie porn)

  • Jan. 25, 2011, 2:06 a.m. CST

    what?

    by musically_endowed

    How do you not like I love you man? Way better than the so-so but super pretentious Youth in Revolt.

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