Paul Rudd has been in his fair share of big movies. He is a main player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and looks to continue to be with the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He has been in countless big comedies that include The 40-Year-Old Virgin and both Anchorman films. Fans of the versatile comedian will be pleased to know that one of his more overlooked movies has just hit Netflix in the US, Our Idiot Brother.
The movie follows Paul Rudd as Ned, a “farmer” who lives a simple life growing organic vegetables with his hippie girlfriend and his dog named Willie Nelson. From the very first scene, you will know what Ned is all about. He is kind and caring, to a fault, as he finds himself selling a baggie of pot to a depressed cop. After his arrest, Ned has nowhere to live, so he goes to live with his sisters. This is where the movie takes off. Ned has three sisters, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer) whose lives are turned upside down when Ned enters the picture. His sisters all have their separate lives, which are all a mess.
Miranda is a journalist on the verge of legal troubles as she tries to get her first major article published with Vanity Fair. Natalie lives with her girlfriend but is struggling in that relationship as she may also have an attraction to her male friend Christian. Liz is married to documentary filmmaker Dylan, who has the propensity to sleep around. Ned, on the other hand, only can see the good in people but it is his honest and without malice way of tackling life that contributes to his sister’s lives spinning out of control. To them, he is just their idiot brother, but in reality, Ned is shining a light on their troubles.
As things come to a head, Paul Rudd’s Ned finds himself back in jail after admitting to his parole officer that he smoked some pot. Miranda arrives to bail Ned out but he decides instead to remain in jail, not wanting to deal with his sister’s and their troubled lives. It takes his sister’s reuniting Ned with his best friend, Willie Nelson, to convince Ned to leave jail.
Our Idiot Brother is not the over-the-top laugh fest you’d see with some of the other Paul Rudd movies. It is, though, not without laughter. It is a harmless movie, one that will produce its fair share of smiles. How can it not with Rudd leading the way and Banks, Deschanel, and Mortimer as his sisters? The remaining cast is quite notable for their comedic gifts and includes Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, Rashida Jones, Hugh Dancy, and T.J. Miller.
Our Idiot Brother was released in 2011 without much fanfare. Paul Rudd signed on immediately after reading the script which was written by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall that they based on a story by Our Idiot Brother’s director Jesse Peretz and his sister Evgenia. Anthony Bregman produced the indie, which was made for under $10 million and, like Rudd, was immediately taken with the script. “It was fantastic. We worked on the script a little and it was funny and emotional. It feels like it could be commercial and yet at the same time it has integrity and it’s a smart comedy with a great lead role and great supporting parts,” Bregman said via Screen Daily. “It’s not that often I get a script that feels it’s so in place already. We worked on it for a few months and then it came together really quickly for the world of independent film. Paul [Rudd] came on board early and we got Peter [Saraf] involved.”
What was more remarkable about the Paul Rudd film, especially since it was an indie, was just how quickly it went from initial script to principal photography to movie theaters. “This movie will set a record for how quickly it came together: from the time I first read the script to the time we wrapped the shoot was four months.” Bregman then added, “We will have a cut of the film less than a year after we saw this script.”
One of the reasons for the amazingly quick turnaround was that Paul Rudd was on a tight schedule as he had another project lined up. “The first piece of casting was Paul Rudd and he had a very brief window before he had to go somewhere else, so we had to start the film by mid-July,” Bregman explained. So putting the film together came fast, as did the shooting schedule. “A 30-day shoot is always a very challenging schedule and it didn’t feel like we were rushing on the film.” Bregman also explained the production was able to use two Red cameras, which helped tremendously in terms of timing. “We were shooting every day with two [Red] cameras, which is a really important thing with comedy, especially with guys who are so good at going off script. You cannot replay a direction for the other side of the conversation, so you need two cameras to capture it and cut it.”
The film received mainly good reviews with Paul Rudd’s performance being the highlight. Hard to get a bad performance from Rudd who has not only seen action in the above-mentioned films but also has spent some time on TV shows such as Friends, Parks and Recreation, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and most recently he played two versions of himself in Living with Yourself. Our Idiot Brother brought in $26 million at the box office on its less than $10 million budget, not bad for an indie film. So, if you’re up for a fun, harmless Paul Rudd film, give Our Idiot Brother a try. We did and it sits with a very respectful 6.7/10 on the Giant Freak Robot movie scale. Rudd will next be seen in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.