Our Idiot Brother
Directed by Jesse Peretz
Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones
In the amiable comedy “Our Idiot Brother,” Paul Rudd plays an extraordinarily earnest, trusting soul who cruises through life with Jesus hair and an approachable grin plastered on his face.
After selling some pot to a cop — a fully uniformed cop, mind you — Ned lands himself a stint in jail and a cruel boot off the upstate organic farm that he works with his girlfriend.
Homeless and penniless, Ned heads to the city to couch-surf between his three sisters’ homes.
Unlike Ned, the sisters are saddled with worries and problems. One sister (Emily Mortimer) is a meek housewife to a philandering filmmaker (Steve Coogan); another (Elizabeth Banks) is a pushy magazine journalist who’ll do anything for a story; and the last sister (Zooey Deschanel) is a lesbian standup comic who cheats on her girlfriend (Rashida Jones).
As he drifts from sis to sis, Ned unwittingly leaves a swath of mayhem in his wake — he’s so honest and guileless, he has no clue how to be discreet or keep a secret. In the complicated adult lives that his sisters lead, there’s no place for an honest hippie like Ned.
Of course, by the end, all three sisters are thanking Ned for proving that a little more honesty is just what they needed in their lives. It’s a facile conclusion to a pretty facile movie, but “Our Idiot Brother” hardly pretends to be a life manual. It’s just a cheerful comedy that goes down easy, with some help from an enthusiastic cast. And who can resist Rudd’s goofy grin?