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Friday, August 26th, 2011

Our Idiot Brother Review Round-Up: Paul Rudd, Idiot Savant

Snuggle into this here hurricane-proof lean-to, ya'll, because we've got to batten down the hatches for another Review Round-up! Everyone seems to agree that the fact Our Idiot Brother's Paul Rudd is a sweetie peachy pie is the movie's greatest strength. "This movie wouldn't work without Paul Rudd. He walks such a fine line. He has to be nice, but not a fool. Sweet, but not saccharine. Honest enough to cause trouble, but always innocently," Roger Ebert writes. "It's refreshing, this late in the summer, to find a hot weather comedy that doesn't hate its characters and embed them in scatology and sexual impossibilities." Says the New York Times' A.O. Scott, if main character Ned "were played by anyone other than Paul Rudd, he would be utterly unbearable," lamenting that "far too much in Our Idiot Brother is much too easy, including the soft, sentimental indulgence it lavishes on Ned and the satirical barbs it flings at his sisters." The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's's Calvin Wilson declares, "Rudd is at his best, imbuing Ned with a deep humanity and a surprisingly persuasive edge. And as the sisters, Banks, Deschanel and Mortimer never hit a wrong note."

Others felt that too much maple syrup spoils the whole delicious Paul Rudd pancake. "Without him the movie is just Hanna-Barbera and Her Sisters," Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe writes. "Either way, it’s all emotionally counterfeit, and that bogusness infects the comedy," though during one furious game of charades "Rudd reminds you that, when pushed, he can summon great rage, that his shticks have levels. In other words, he woke me up in that scene." Writes the Chicago Reader's J.R. Jones, "Like Nicole Holofcener's Please Give (2010), this turns on the friction between an unusually altruistic character and the self-centered people around him, though screenwriters David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz never pursue their premise into the sort of moral comedy that so distinguished the other movie."