You can’t blame someone for calling this one My Idiot Brother. It creates a mindset and a tone to put people in the seats, but it’s clearly misguided. That brother is Ned (Paul Rudd), a Jesus-looking type with a heart of gold and the trust of a 10-year old.
Sure, selling pot to a fully uniformed cop may seem idiotic, but it’s the intent that creates the character. Ned is trying to help a guy who seems to be at rock bottom, taking him at his word, and then ends up in trouble. His life is twisted when he gets out, shoved out of his home by his ex and tangled into the lives of his three sisters.
It’s a transition of heart and comedic interludes, Ned inadvertently revealing secrets during his straight-laced conversations. He enjoys being; people wish they could be this laid back. Few are honest optimists, certainly not his sisters, and his demeanor creates an entire characterized persona.
Our Idiot Brother hits a few dry spots, the writing a bit jumpy as it cascades into dramatic tensions, revived by the soft, even quiet lines begging for laughs. It should get them too, along with a sense of earnest warmth. Few movies make people love a dog more than this one.
Part of the success here is a lack of antics, the title more suggestive of a You, Me, & Deupree escapade where the relative exists to annoy. There’s a real character here who knows he is in the way, tries his damnedest to avoid confrontation, yet keeps finding it no matter his actions. It’s hard to hate someone like that, even as he breaks down marriages and relationships by spilling his deep secret base. He loves life even when sleeping in an inflatable boat in the garage, and that positive energy transfers over to the viewer. Who doesn’t need a relief from negativity these days?
Anchor Bay delivers this digitally captured (Red One MX) piece to Blu-ray in a perfect AVC encode, never struggling to keep up with the passe pacing or brilliantly defined exterior shots. There’s plenty of complexity around too, the parks of New York lined with beautiful plant life that does nothing but stun visually in HD. With no grain to process, all that’s left is pristine clarity.
Saturation is heavy without hitting the flesh tones negatively, clothing and earth tones brightly rendered. Objects leap from their environment when they should, and dimensionality is in its prime. With only a few brief grievances within nighttime interiors, black levels are outstanding. Shadow detail is entirely preserved and there’s as much weight to the blacks as there is to the color.
Detail will squeeze into the frame without popping at the viewer, mostly reserved and natural. It suits the laid back style if not hi-def class. There’s nothing wrong with that, fibers on clothing, hair, and high-fidelity facial detail whipping up an enjoyable resume. Without noise to bother the finer points, it’s left to its own devices and succeeds.
The mid-range is where it falters, some instances clearly contained within a soft focus, others more suspect with a smooth, digital facade. Given the performance of the material elsewhere, it becomes a mild agitation, standing out when it shouldn’t. Still, it’s all brief, generally inoffensive, and hardly enough to get worked up over.
Deadened will best describe the audio mix, a flat, front loaded affair with little to do other than process dialogue, even on city streets. Ambiance is at a premium, New York hardly the bustling metropolis it is in reality. Maybe Ned just blocks all of those distractions out.
Our Idiot Brother’s sole moment of spice is a party environment, the music hitting a peak in the low-end while working into the surrounds. It’s not out of balance and is just what this mix needs to stay alive for a little while longer. It’s a shame it doesn’t do much else to work itself out.
Director Jesse Peretz delivers thoughts via a commentary, certainly the most in-depth thing here. Four deleted scenes include a needless moment of Ned generosity and an alternate ending mingling with the rest. A making-of is a better than average interview piece, avoiding a tone that feels too restrictive by studio politics.