Stupid is as stupid does

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

Di­rec­tor: Jesse Peretz ( The Ex) Stars: Paul Rudd, El­iz­a­beth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mor­timer, Steve Coogan, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones

Smarter than the av­er­age doo­fus

DON’T be put off by the un­promis­ing ti­tle – this is no throw­away com­edy by any stretch.

Yes, the fea­tured char­ac­ter is not the bright­est light bulb in the chan­de­lier of life. But he is also no­body’s fool but his own.

The serene sense of self that has shaped Ned ( Paul Rudd) into the home­less hip­pie drifter he is to­day turns out to be quite an achieve­ment, es­pe­cially when you size up those who look down on him.

They’re ei­ther too stressed out or way messed- up, al­most be­yond re­pair.

As Our Id­iot Brother be­gins, Ned is be­ing shunted around the rest of his fam­ily while he tries to fig­ure out if, at the age of 38, life may have passed him by.

Although Ned does not last long with his boozy mother, he is due to wear out his wel­come with all three of his sis­ters across the length of the film.

Each stay with a sib­ling forms an en­closed chap­ter in Ned’s story. Liz ( Emily Mor­timer) is a neu­rotic house­wife with a hus­band ( Steve Coogan) who gives her ev­ery rea­son to be ner­vous.

Ned briefly lands a job with his broth­erin- law, who works as a doc­u­men­tary film­maker. Ned does the job so well he breaks up Liz’s mar­riage for good.

Ned’s next port of call is with Mi­randa ( El­iz­a­beth Banks), a jour­nal­ist about to land her first big story with Van­ity Fair mag­a­zine – un­til it tran­spires Ned is the only source who can ver­ify her work with the fact- check­ers. And his mem­ory is not so hot.

Then there is Natalie ( Zooey Deschanel), a stand- up co­me­dian with no jokes and no fol­low­ing. She is in two minds about whether she is a les­bian.

Ned’s pres­ence in her house­hold is sure to force a de­ci­sion, one way or the other.

While no one would hail Our Id­iot Brother as the most ac­ces­si­ble movie com­edy of 2011, it is def­i­nitely the one most com­fort­able in its own skin ( even the great Brides­maids some­times pan­icked and lost its way).

Ev­ery char­ac­ter in the pic­ture ar­rives on- screen fully formed and then goes on to change shape in a cred­i­ble and grounded way.

None more so than Ned, who starts the pic­ture look­ing for all the world like a lost dis­ci­ple of Jeff Bridges’ im­mor­tal The Dude from The Big Le­bowski.

By the clos­ing cred­its, there is a thing or two The Dude could learn from Ned.

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