At first I felt the “idiot” for chancing this film but due to the remarkable performance by Paul Rudd “Our Idiot Brother” won my affection and admiration. Coming from a family of four sisters and one brother (who was not an idiot, but the baby of five) I could relate to the dynamics of three females dominating one male. But “Ned” is a classic child, garbed in the facade of a man; his innocence is pristine, his lack of deviousness, endearing and frustrating; he is devoid of a filter, always spewing the truth when silence was the preferred method of non -communication.
The three sisters, lacking definition (unlike Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters”, Shakespeare’s daughters in “King Lear”, or Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters”) are provocatively depicted by the refined talents of Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer. The success of the film lies in the transformation of “idiocy” from Ned, to his sisters, more worthy of the title; the audience is bludgeoned with the conversion, but entertained nonetheless.
The film resonates with fine minor performances by Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Kathryn Hahn, Rashida Jones. Also, as in many recent films, an animal captures our heart; “Willie Nelson” is a cuddly -canine, the center of a custody battle between Ned and his previous girlfriend “Janet” (Kathryn Hahn). One of the funniest scenes is the attempted nighttime, clandestine removal of Willy Nelson from the rapacious clutches of Janet and her guileless boyfriend.
Jesse Peretz (Director) writers Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall have created a thought-provoking scenario that on so many levels appeals to anyone who has a sibling or friend who does not fit into the mold society has fashioned or predetermined; a misfit who blurts out the unwanted, forbidden facts; the painful truth, not to be aired, poisonous facts, that once exposed miraculously expunge the venom, resulting in purification and wisdom. Ned, “Our Idiot Brother” is the oracle of veracity and one cannot help but like and respect him.