Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I first remember seeing a very young Paul Rudd in “Clueless”, the mid-90’s Alicia Silverstone vehicle which was supposed to make her a superstar. I won’t devote any more of this review to Alicia Silverstone, but will rather focus on Paul Rudd. Rudd’s career has been somewhat steady since the days of “Clueless”, he’s been somewhat of a background character with some minor roles in films like “Wet Hot American Summer” and even a stint on TV’s “Friends.” But he did manage to get in with the Judd Apatow group and was cast in “Anchorman” which led to his part in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and then to “Knocked Up”…you get the idea. However it really wasn’t until his role in “Role Models” that his career really started to take off. Shortly thereafter his biggest breakthrough to date was “I Love You, Man” and I don’t think I’m stretching the truth by saying that he’s now a bona fide leading man. Rudd has that everyman quality and that “Aw shucks” demeanor that make him very relatable. But enough of the bio, let’s dive right into “Our Idiot Brother” and see how this latest endeavor works for him.

Ned (Paul Rudd) is an organic farmer. He’s not unintelligent, but he has the tendency to be extremely gullible and trusting. So it’s not that much of a surprise when he ends up in jail after selling a uniformed policeman a bag of pot. When he gets out his girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn) has dumped him for Billy (T.J. Miller) and Ned is sent packing. Luckily Ned’s sisters are there for him, though they don’t treat him too well. Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is an up and coming writer for Vanity Fair who’s hoping for that big interview. Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is in a pseudo-committed relationship with her partner, Cindy (Rashida Jones). And Liz (Emily Mortimer) is married to a documentary filmmaker (Steve Coogan) who’s having an affair with the lead actress. Ned single-handedly manages to muck up his sisters’ lives though in a very innocent way. Ned’s needs are simple, though, he essentially wants his dog – Willie Nelson – back and to be back on the farm. But, will it happen?

“Our Idiot Brother” has some genuinely funny moments and the entire cast is populated with comics and character actors who do their job and do it well. Rudd himself has worked with Elizabeth Banks in “Role Models” and Rashida Jones in “I Love You, Man” (both were his fiancé). Zooey Deschanel seems to be everywhere these days and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful Adam Scott, who plays a small role as the “boyfriend” of Elizabeth Banks’ character. The movie seems to drag a bit in the middle and I think the filmmakers tend to lose focus and tried to give the cast a bit too much attention. Rudd carries the movie, but on the same token it’s the supporting cast that does make it work. I’m more of a fan of the straight-laced Paul Rudd as opposed to the stoner version seen here. If it were up to me I’d tell you to watch any one of the Apatow movies, “I Love You, Man” or “Role Models.” But that’s just me.

Video: How does it look?

Though the movie didn’t come from a major studio, that’s no excuse for a bad transfer. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image is very clean and consistent throughout, though it’s marred a few times by some fuzziness and a tad bit of grain. Colors are vibrant and for the most part the detail is very crisp. Rudd’s character sports one heck of a beard and I kid you not when I say that you can see the course hairs that compose it on some of the close up shots. Fleshtones seem normal throughout as well. There are only a handful of darker scenes in the film, but black levels and contrast seem just about right. Overall, it’s a good-looking image.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio track isn’t too impressive. It’s not that it’s a weak track, there’s just not a lot of opportunities for it to really show itself off. Dialogue comprises most of the audio in the film and it’s all very clear. A real test of this is listening to T.J. Miller’s “Billy” as the low talking, mumbling hippie – I heard every word. There are a handful of ambient effects and the surrounds kick in a few times. Still, there are certainly better soundtracks out there though I doubt they had dynamic audio in mind when putting this film together.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There aren’t a lot of supplements here, but what’s included isn’t really half bad. The most notable feature is the commentary by director Jesse Peretz who talks of the shoot, working with such a well-established and diverse cast and the story in general. There are also a handful of deleted scenes including a very different alternate ending. There’s also the obligatory “The Making of ‘Our Idiot Brother'” which gives us a few behind the scenes shots and some brief interviews with the cast and crew.

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