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Capone says OUR IDIOT BROTHER is a charming, perfect way to end a summer of mostly great R-rated comedies!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

I know a lot of people like to begin their assessments of certain films by saying "If you don't love this movie, you have no soul," or "...there's something damaged inside of you," or "...I can't be friends with you anymore." You get the drift. And although the new film from director Jesse Peretz, OUR IDIOT BROTHER, is far from the best film or even the best comedy of the year so far, it's so inherently likable that to not allow yourself to be charmed is actually a criminal act. The film also provides us with one of the best examples of how once tight-knit families become dysfunctional and then rally in times of crisis.

The heart and soul contained in OUR IDIOT BROTHER is palpable, and it comes from nearly all of the family relations of one Ned (Paul Rudd), a sweet, trusting, naive hippie who is far from idiotic. And it's his trusting nature that gets him tossed into jail for several month for selling weed to a uniformed cop. When he's released, he returns to his organic farm, his dog (named, although not played by, Willie Nelson), and his fickle girlfriend (played by one of my favorites, Kathryn Hahn), who has already moved onto a new man (the very funny T.J. Miller). As a result, Ned is forced to move in with his mom while he tries to find a job and a permanent residence--conditions set forth by his parole officer (Sterling Brown).

After feeling slightly confined with mom, Ned decides to take one of his three sisters, Liz (Emily Mortimer), up on her offer to stay with her family, including her documentary filmmaker husband Dylan (Steve Coogan, in perfect rancid asshole mode) and son River (Matthew Mindler). By being a good and trusting listener and perhaps a bit too free with private information, Ned manages to wear out his welcome with Liz and his other two sisters, Vanity Fair writer Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) or lesbian stand-up comic Natalie (Zooey Deschanel). In a short space of time, Ned inadvertantly wrecks a marriage, a lesbian partnership, and a career, all the while pining for his dog that his old girlfriend refuses to return.

Just to be clear, OUR IDIOT BROTHER is not a wacky screwball comedy where Ned is running around spilling the beans on family secrets, schrugging his shoulders, smiling, and saying, "Ooops!" There are a few moments of genuine heartbreak and drama here that make a lot of what happens in the plot seem plausible and devastating. The movie is nearly always funny, but when it chooses to slip in a degree of seriousness, it doesn't feel forced. Often, it enhances the comedy by giving us human characters that we're actually about to care about and identify with. Perhaps the film's most impressive feat is that it rarely achieves its R-rated laughs with vulgar humor or the impulse to put people down. Sure, the sisters call Ned an idiot from time to time, but they eventually realize the error of their ways.

The key to the success of OUR IDIOT BROTHER is the relationships, and there are a lot of them even beyond what transpires between the siblings. I loved the conversations Miranda's neighbor (Adam Scott) has with Ned. These two were meant to watch the director's cut of Dune on cable together. Or the lesbified Rashida Jones as Natalie's lawyer partner, who has to put with his Natalie's slightly slutty past (with men and women). Or the way T.J. Miller's character empathizes with Ned's battles with his ex. And god bless Shirley Knight, who plays the siblings' mom, always with a glass of wine in her hand and some sage advice for her kids.

A kind of clarity and strength emerges from the rubble that Ned has causes, and OUR IDIOT BROTHER is a celebration of messed-up families that care enough about each other to sweep aside the bullshit to help one another. It's the best movie of the week for sure, and a great way to close out an unusually strong summer of R-rated comedies. And if you tell me OUR IDIOT BROTHER didn't do it for you, I'll kick your ass from here to Peoria. Now go see it.

-- Capone
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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 26, 2011, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Paul Rudd

    by Darren Dodge

    This guy is always good.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Looks funny

    by Mr. Lahey

    By the way, there's almost 30 days of summer left.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Paul Rudd's my other man-crush.

    by davidwebb

    The first is Jon Hamm. I'm not gay for them or anything, it's just a healthy man-crush.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 6:09 p.m. CST

    I'm not gay or anything

    by Mr. Lahey

    but I would oil up Paul Rudd, Ewan McGregor, Commando-Era Arnold, Russell Peters, andThe Beastie Boys with the sole purpose of constructing a man-crush Newton's Cradle.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    so the name River has finally started filtering through

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    Something tells me there are a shitload of 18-20 year old Keanus out there as well

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 6:55 p.m. CST

    Paul Rudd is a likeable fellow

    by Bobo_Vision

    This Funny or Die video made me want to see this film: <p>

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 7:54 p.m. CST

    So, why does this comedy get coverage here?

    by Ditko

    Is it because of Paul Rudd? He´s a fun dude, granted, but what´s "cool" about this movies? Hundreds of other easy comedies come and go without any kind of coverage. Why is this one different? Not trying to be an ass here, I´m honestly just asking.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones and Zooey Deschanel

    by Itchy

    Now there's a movie I can whack off to !

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 8:48 p.m. CST

    Lemme guess

    by Mugato5150

    The first 25 minutes or so are funny, the midsection slows down to introduce some sort of sub plot, our hero pisses off everyone he cares about and learns the error of his ways, there's some sort of montage where he works to improve himself, he emerges a better man, solves the sub plot problem, wins back his loved ones and some contrivance comes out of nowhere to get him off the hook for all of his previous antics. Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Daaschssenelle don't get naked. Blooper reel in credits.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 9:46 p.m. CST

    oops, i meant @ditko not @itchy

    by antonphd

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Co-sign, antonphd

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    This movie misses most of the cliches that hinder these type of comedies. And T.J. Miller steals every scene he's in. I really enjoyed this.

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Zooey Deschanel and Rashida Jones are lesbian lovers in this

    by thelordofhell

    I'm afraid I would cream my jeans if I saw them make out on screen

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Damn, I just realized that Paul Rudd is my generations Tom Hanks

    by antonphd

  • Aug. 26, 2011, 10:13 p.m. CST


    by Autodidact


  • Aug. 26, 2011, 11:07 p.m. CST

    "an unusually strong summer of R-rated comedies." Really?

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    Aside from Bridesmaids and possibly Horrible Bosses, what was "unusually strong?" Bad Teacher? The Hangover II? Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son? So, by contrast, what would you call 2008 (the summer that saw Tropic Thunder, Burn After Reading, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and the first half of Zack & Miri make a Porno)? Average? Face it, Capone - no much damage control you folks try to do here at AICN, this summer has sucked big-time.

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 4:32 a.m. CST

    the ghostbusters three train is about to leave the station

    by emeraldboy

    without or without murray on board, so says dan ackroyd. Ackroyd said that ghostbusters is bigger than one individual and yes murray was involved massively as were he, weaver and ramis. Ghostbusters three starts shooting next year. with or without Bill Murray. that is much is clear.

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 4:40 a.m. CST

    and ricky gervaise is planning life's too short spin off's

    by emeraldboy

    keith chegwin, les dennis and shaun williamson. about the ghostbusters three post. ackyrod hints that sony is thinking rebooting the franchise. Ghostbusters three is all how about our heroes are too old for the this ghostbusting shit. they hire younger ghostbusters to train.

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Some Love for Sterling Brown

    by Aquatarkusman

    Dude was intense as the twisted hunter (Gordon) in Supernatural. I have a feeling this thing was severely mismarketed by the title and trailers; people who would enjoy a Squid and the Whale might have been turned off by the Farrelly Brothers presentation.

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Capone loved "Hall Pass" which was a steaming pile of shit.

    by DonkeyBalls

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST


    by Mennen

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    donkeyballstwo - Hall Pass might be the worst movie of the year

    by Mennen

    How do they think owen wilson can play the role of a "man?"

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Oh, and let's not forget...

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    Capone's glowing review of MacGruber.

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    SO suck of "outrageous" R-rated comedies

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    I never thought I'd say this, but bring back the PG-13 comedy!

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 6:26 p.m. CST

    the best movie of the week

    by CountryBoy

    What can I possibly add to that?

  • Aug. 27, 2011, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Macruber is one of the most underrated comedies of all time

    by Bobo_Vision

    And Will Forte one of the most underrated comedic actors.

  • A brilliant comedy. Mr. Popper popped Obi Wan Kenobi's cherry. Jim Carrey is an amazing talent....I can't believe his career is fizzling out.

  • Aug. 28, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST

    I just love saying- "hey, let's go see my idiot brother!"

    by UltraTron

    Over and over. Just to mess with him

  • Aug. 28, 2011, 11:19 a.m. CST

    What's with Hollywood not recognizing Carrey?

    by UltraTron

    Truman, Man on Moon, Majestic, Phillip Morris- the dude has missed more oscars than Gary Oldman

  • Aug. 28, 2011, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Majestic-

    by UltraTron

    Gonna get the blu-ray today and watch it frame 1 to the end credits like what always happens when you put that masterpiece in

  • She's been burned slowly alive in silent hill, brains blown out(not even in the book) in Mist. Anyone know another movie where she's killed horribly? One of the hottest chicks ever onscreen

  • Aug. 28, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    If 5 years ago anyone bet you that...

    by DougMcKenzie

    Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, and Paul Rudd would be the three biggest stars in comedy would you have taken that bet?

  • Aug. 28, 2011, 7:37 p.m. CST

    Most great R rated comedies?

    by seasider

    What movies have you been watching Capone? I liked Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses but everything that has come out this year has been overly formulaic smelling of an overused assembly line. When you see a movie like "The Help" outgrossing both "Our Idiot Brother" and "30 Minutes Or Less", that's hardly a sign of a great summer for R rated comedy.

  • Aug. 29, 2011, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Hate to say it, because I'm not an AICN whineyboy

    by HarrysNemesis

    But this summer did blow for comedies. Bridesmaids is the only one I've seen this summer that I'd say will be remembered beyond the year. I liked Horrible Bosses and Bad Teacher ok and they were good entertainment but passable comedies that aren't going to be remembered. I'd say this was a pretty average comedy summer. I haven't seen this movie yet, but I expect to love it because of my Paul Rudd mancrush (I Love You, Man was the best comedy of 2009 IMO). The guy has a lot of good movies to his credit. Even in movies that may not have been classic, he has usually shined. I never thought he'd make it as big as he has though. The only major comedy I didn't see so far this summer was 30 minutes or less and I think I'm going to wait for DVD for that one.

  • And the guys from Southpark were 100% right on that one. I hate to say it, but I laughed probably harder than any other movie ever possibly seeing Southpark. It's the only time the first 30 minutes I actually physically started to be unable to breath because I was laughing so hard and long.