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Our Idiot Brother(2011)
Every family has one: the sibling who is always just a little bit behind the curve when it comes to getting his life together. For sisters Liz, Miranda and Natalie, that person is their perennially upbeat brother Ned, an erstwhile organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty of mankind is a less-than-optimum strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence. Ned may be utterly lacking in common sense, but he is their brother and so, after his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters once again come to his rescue.
For more about Our Idiot Brother and the Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray release, see Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 17, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, T.J. Miller, Rashida Jones, Steve Coogan
Director: Jesse Peretz
» See full cast & crew
Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray Review
A charming Comedy about the complexities of family.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 17, 2011
Well, the title really doesn't pull any punches, does it? Our Idiot Brother. It really is that simple, most of the time, but it's not often that mean-spirited. Director Jesse Peretz's Our Idiot Brother is indeed a pretty simple story about a quasi-hippie dude who makes life a living hell for his three sisters -- though through no malicious intent on his part -- but of course the movie isn't content to sit on its laurels and simply watch the mayhem unfold with no purpose. A perfectly good Drama lives somewhere behind the antics, a Drama that looks at the unbreakable bond of family, a bond that sure does bend but remains firm, always snapping back into form, even when it seems like it's reached a point of no return. For as crazy as things may get, for as many gaffes as the "idiot brother" may make, it turns out his family is just as culpable; they're just less likely to about yap about their own mistakes. Hey man, don't shoot the messenger! Our Idiot Brother is a rock-solid little movie that loudly -- and hilariously -- speaks on something with which everyone can, on some level, relate. It's a movie that goes to show that life definitely has its ups, downs, and plenty of quirks, but in the end, is there anything stronger than the bond of blood?
Ned (Paul Rudd) is a bumbling but well-meaning organic farmer who finds himself in jail when he sells weed to a uniformed police officer. He's released quickly (before the titles are even done rolling!) for good behavior but finds his life upside down. His girlfriend Janet (Kathryn Hahn) is dating a new live-in boyfriend, Billy (T.J. Miller). Worst of all, Janet is keeping Ned's best friend Willie Nelson, a loyal dog who isn't going to live a very good life without his best friend and master at his side. Ned needs a place to stay, but his three sisters want no part of him. Eventually, one of them caves. The married mother Liz (Emily Mortimer) opens her home -- but not necessarily her heart -- to her brother, making room for him in her son River's (Matthew Mindler) bedroom, much to the chagrin of her Documentary filmmaking husband Dylan (Steve Coogan). Nevertheless, Ned doesn't want to be a hassle, and he's trying his best to scrounge up some money to rent out Janet's old barn, on Billy's suggestion. As he tries to make himself useful, he only finds himself getting into more and more trouble with his sisters. The bisexual Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) and her girlfriend Cindy (Rashida Jones) get along with him well enough, at least until he lets slip to Cindy a little secret about Liz. His relationship with Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is complicated when he becomes involved in the publication of a make-or-break story she's written for Vanity Fair. Finally, his already tepid relationship with Liz is stretched to the limit when he learns a nasty secret about Dylan. Can Ted keep his family together, or will his lack of tact and big mouth make him the fall guy for his sisters' own shortcomings?
"Naiveté" is the word of the day and the one that best describes the root of all conundrums in Our Idiot Brother. The story is one of an obviously well-meaning but rather simple-minded individual who takes everything at face value and who fails to grasp concepts like tact and secrecy, not to mention more complex ideas like the inner-workings of human interaction. His values are sound if not maybe a bit misguided at times. His love for his dog, for life, for his family is unconditional. But everything he does, it seems, leads him to the dog house, so to speak, when his unpracticed and misshapen life skills land him in trouble with the law, with his sisters, with his ex, and threaten to destroy his very essence and well-being. But behind all the trouble he causes is a gentle soul who certainly means no harm. All he wants is to live a good life, to enjoy the company of his dog, and to play a few rounds of charades with his mom and sisters. He wants a simple life, but he creates bedlam at every turn. The two cannot co-exist, unless his family is willing to meet him halfway, to stop and see, for a moment, the world as he sees it, to slow down to his speed and appreciate the little things in life and not constantly fret over everything else. The real charm of Our Idiot Brother is that it's the sisters' willy-nilly, high-speed, everywhere-and-everything approach to living that lands them in the real trouble, trouble of their own making. Their brother certainly doesn't help matters considering his lack of understanding of "the real world," but if the sisters want to make it in life -- at least a life in which Ned still plays some part -- they're going to have to slow down and take a look at life through their brother's eyes.
Our Idiot Brother nicely balances its approach that sees the movie just sort of meander along through all of Ned's exploits while still maintaining a steadfast and fairly linear storyline. In essence, the pacing and structure are a reflection of Ned himself, sort of going with the flow but at the same time exploring any number of situations that produce an A-to-B-to-C story. The movie is, then, very well balanced, light, and enjoyable. For all of the dynamics both positive and negative, it's easy to like all of the characters, as diverse as they may be, because the movie so easily fits them into the greater whole and allows them to develop at their own -- and at Ned's -- pace. The result is a very believable, yet very complex and also very understandable family dynamic. The cast gels effortlessly together, and the movie is a pleasure from the top down, all the way down to pooch Willie Nelson who immediately feels like a member of the fictional family, and when it's all said and done, the most wronged but also the one with the most to gain, which is the very essence of the entire story: unconditional familial love. Our Idiot Brother whittles down to something so simple yet something that's often so distant. Sometimes it takes a little naiveté, a little awkwardness, a little misunderstanding, a little anger, even, for a family to come together, to make it click, to experience that simplest but also most complex of emotions as it should be. Besides, what's family life and love without a little drama every now and then?
Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray, Video Quality
Our Idiot Brother features a gorgeous 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. This digitally-shot movie just flat-out sparkles, featuring eye-popping colors, wonderful details, and a general consistency that puts it near the top of the Blu-ray heap. Only occasional and moderately-intense banding mars an otherwise spectacular transfer. The color palette is perhaps the transfer's finest overall asset. Every color delivers fantastic vibrancy and stability. Colors jump out of the screen, but they never appear artificial or juiced up. Even in darker scenes, the transfer delivers consistently accurate colors that play nicely alongside pitch-perfect blacks. Fine detail is incredible, too. Clothing, wooden beams on a bunk bed, hardwood floors, everything -- except for faces that look ever-so-slightly pasty and flat on occasion -- is just breathtakingly crisp and natural. The image yields impeccable clarity which really helps to boost its best attributes. Noise, blocking, and other unwanted elements are absent. This is nothing less than a wonderful 1080p transfer from Anchor Bay.
Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Our Idiot Brother isn't some action extravaganza. Its soundtrack is rather subtle and subdued, which is reflected in Anchor Bay's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless presentation. The track handles the film's limited material and scope easily. It features, primarily, light ambience, music, and dialogue. The latter is consistently balanced and always the center of attention. Music enjoys superb clarity and plays with a balanced and strong body. Spacing is strong and the presentation rather seamless. It's generally airy and light, but effective. Minor ambience -- chirping birds in outside scenes, the light din of a restaurant, or other assorted small elements -- nicely works its way into the proceedings, though often through the front channels. The surrounds simply don't carry all that much in terms of attention-grabbing information. Still, this is a focused, clean, and clear track. One can't ask for much more with a movie like Our Idiot Brother.
Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Our Idiot Brother comes with all the basics: an audio commentary track, deleted and extended scenes, and a featurette.
Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Our Idiot Brother is a solid feel-good Comedy (with a sprinkling of real-world necessary Drama) about the importance of family, even when family trudges through a particularly rough patch. It's a movie about goodhearted honest folk who mean no harm but who somehow missed school on the days they taught tact, problem-solving, and basic human interaction skills. It's also a movie that preaches the importance of heart and not just the power of words and deeds, whether deliberately mean-spirited or goodhearted yet misunderstood. In the end, the movie says that maybe there's a firm meeting place somewhere in the middle where people can air their differences but also come to better understand the peculiarities that make them different but that also make them family. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Our Idiot Brother features exceptional video, strong audio, and a few supplements. Recommended.
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Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Our Idiot Brother Blu-ray - October 13, 2011
Next month, Anchor Bay Home Entertainment will bring Our Idiot Brother to Blu-ray. Paul Rudd (Role Models) stars as the title character, a genial slacker whose easygoing ways alternately delight and exasperate his sisters Miranda (Elizabeth Banks, The 40-Year-Old ...
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