“Our Idiot Brother” is enjoyable enough to watch, but its main weaknesses come by way of its own identity crisis. It doesn’t really know what kind of movie it wants to be. As a comedy, it’s funny enough. As a story, it feels like dozens of other movies I’ve seen before.
The main premise of the movie is a man-child finds himself in dire circumstances, and moves in with family who act like the grown-ups they are. This slacker is also so thoughtless that his bad habits get in the way of his family members tending to their responsibilities. Doesn’t that follow the same story line as “You, Me, And Dupree” (2006)? Sure, in that movie, Owen Wilson’s character was not related to Matt Dillon or Kate Hudson, but you know what I mean.
Plus, this movie also has a saga built in about three sisters. Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is a single workaholic who is moving up the corporate ladder as an entertainment journalist, Liz (Emily Mortimer) is a stay-at-home mom, and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is a free spirit, a very amateur stand-up comedian, and a lesbian. One of these women is cheating on their significant other, and the other is the one being cheated on. Already, these archetypes reflect previous movies like “Hannah & Her Sisters” (1986), “Soul Food” (1997), and “Hanging Up” (2000) to name a few.
With those three aforementioned films, you really believed that the actresses in the movie were really sisters. In this film, not only do the three actresses look unrelated, but they don’t really have any chemistry between them. When they sit together and talk about how messed up each sister thinks the lives of her other two sisters are, there’s no poignancy in the scene at all. They talk at each other, not to each other. Most importantly, their frustration against their “Idiot Brother” Ned (Paul Rudd), after whom the film is named, doesn’t feel right… (D.Burke, Imdb)