Paul Rudd is a very loveable guy. But after his big break as the dorky older brother in Clueless it took a while for him to find a role that people would notice – that role came in the form of Brian Fantana, Will Ferrell’s sex-crazed right-hand man in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
And after securing a place in Judd Apatow’s extended family, Rudd stood out with supporting roles in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and other various cameos before finally earning the spotlight he deserved.
Now, after playing the straight man beside his more comical co-leads in both I Love You, Man and Role Models, Rudd is stepping into a completely new persona as the loveable loser and lead in Our Idiot Brother.
He plays Ned, the ultimate movie slacker – as unmotivated as The Dude and as daft as Ted Logan, while possessing the good intentions of a Care Bear. Like a dim-witted puppy, he’s hard not to love even though he continually makes a mess of things and never seems to learn from his mistakes.
While Rudd is at the heart of Our Idiot Brother’s charm, the talented supporting cast all add to the film’s appeal. His on-screen sisters are represented by a trio of women that would feature in most modern male crush lists, in Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer and Elizabeth Banks.
And much like Donkey’s onion theory this cast also consists of layers, with the final-tier completed with each of their respective love interests. While Steve Coogan is underused as the arsehole husband of Mortimer, Party Down’s Adam Scott is well-utilised as Banks’ neighbour and although I generally find her annoying anyway, Kathryn Hahn was an ex-girlfriend you loved to hate.
The least believable casting choice was Rashida Jones as the more-masculine partner to Deschanel’s confused lesbian. By dressing her in those horrible glasses and business ties, it just seemed like the ‘80s teen movie attempt to make a clearly hot girl look unattractive.
There must be something very attractive about working with director Jesse Peretz or at least with his chosen source material, as he gathered an equally-impressive comedic ensemble for his underrated 2004 comedy The Ex, starring Zach Braff and Jason Bateman.
The only flaw with Our Idiot Brother is that the relationships and events that unravel are just too predictable. From the very introduction of certain characters it becomes instantly clear what their intentions are and what the consequences will be. Surprisingly enough though, this doesn’t get in the way of making you feel warm and fuzzy when it all works out in the end.
Overall, a very likeable cast lifts this from your average Apatow-inspired comedy to one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
Our Idiot Brother is in cinemas from November 3, 2011.