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The Daily Tar Heel

Movie Review: Our Idiot Brother

“Our Idiot Brother” has several ingredients for idiocy.

From the outset, Paul Rudd’s character Ned seems to be just an ordinary wool-wearing, pot-smoking Jesus look-alike running through the motions of life without a care in the world.

But when Ned is forced to move in with his mother and sisters, the caricature is loosened as Rudd plays the role of blind optimism in the face of his ever-cynical sisters.

Ned’s happy-go-lucky attitude shifts from potentially annoying to admirable as he teaches his over-disciplined nephew karate. More impressively, he manages to wade through the mundane problems of his siblings’ jobs and the terrible decisions they’ve made to make relationships in those jobs, and eventually discovers one of his sisters is in love with her best friend.

Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) and Liz (Emily Mortimer) deliver an excellent contrast to Ned’s life approach with their unyielding complaints.

The three actresses give the audience enough neuroses to make viewers crave Ned and his relaxed nature. But the movie is not fully cohesive in its approach to Ned’s foolishness.

Some actions, such as accidentally letting it slip to his parole officer that he smoked a joint, paint Ned as only a simpleton.

Others, like when his brother-in-law convinces him that he did not witness two people having sex, make Ned seem like he has something mentally wrong with him.

But Rudd’s sweet charm triumphs over these inconsistencies to reach its ultimate message that a positive attitude is becoming a forgotten art in modern society.

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