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Jackie K. Cooper

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Our Idiot Brother Is the Feel Good Movie of the Year

Posted: 08/29/11 04:21 PM ET

In Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd convincingly plays a sweetly naïve and gullible man named Ned. Ned's story is one of unintentional conflict and failure in his relationships with his three sisters played by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. How Ned stumbles through his problems and ends up triumphant makes for a very warm and moving film.

Ned is so gullible that he sells marijuana to a cop who is in full uniform. This results in his being sent to prison and being separated from his beloved dog Willie Nelson. After his release from prison he cannot get his dog back from his ex-girlfriend Janet (Kathryn Hahn) and he can't live with her on her organic vegetable farm any more. This means he either has to live with his mom (Shirley Knight) or one of his three sisters.

Whether he is living with Natalie (Deschanel), Liz (Mortimer) or Miranda (Banks) something always happens that causes a rift in the relationship. This is a shame because Ned always has the best of intentions. His sisters are the problem but they think it is Ned and they back each other up on that.

Seeing Ned stumble through life always with a smile on his face and a song in his heart makes for an emotionally satisfying film. In this respect it is out of the ordinary and a welcome change from the angst and negative emotions that are usually presented. This film presents a study in dysfunction but in a good way.

All the acting in the film is top rate with Rudd leading the charge. If this performance is not remembered when award time rolls around it will be a real shame. Rudd maintains Ned's humor, character and dignity all the way through the film without a single slip up or misfire. He is consistently good old Ned.

Banks stands out among the actresses playing the sisters. As Miranda she is funny, hateful, self-centered and loving. Those are a lot of disparate traits but she manages to convey them all. Deschanel and Mortimer are also good but Banks just tops them with pure energy and drive.

The movie is rated R for nudity, profanity and sexual situations.

Our Idiot Brother is a film that makes you feel good after watching it. Rudd is so exuberant as Ned, and the story is so unique in the way it is presented that you can't help but love it. In these dire times when a bright outlook on life is an exception, Ned reaffirms our belief in the human spirit.