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April 9, 2012 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Review – Our Idiot Brother

Directed by Jesse Peretz

Comedy is a notoriously difficult genre to master. Instead of being genuinely witty many films prefer to proffer cheap humour. In contrast, Our Idiot Brother is a passable, if conventional attempt to present us with insightful, intelligent comedy. Its talented cast manages to charm and delight but ultimately fails to leave any lasting impact.

The script is a mix of tried and true comedy tropes. A carefree man-child (Paul Rudd) is released from incarceration after being caught for pot dealing, and turns to his family for support. Conflict ensues as the irresponsible Ned becomes involved in the lives of his siblings. The insights the film offers are hardly revelatory but are amusing nevertheless.

Comprising comedic heavyweights such as Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel, the cast certainly does not lack for talent. None of these actor’s performances are exceptional but they manage to make a relatively slight story more engaging. Their comedic timing is excellent, making sometimes trite one-liners genuinely amusing.

Despite this, the film still suffers from the bane of predictability. The plot can be traced out right from the first few minutes, and there are few surprises to be found. All the characters appear as crude archetypes, as opposed to unique and believable human beings. There’s the stressed mother struggling to revive her ailing marriage, the tough, independent working woman and the dotting matriarch who will do anything for her children. All in all, it ends up being a mediocre patchwork of comedy clichés, with very little new to say.

By now you might be under the impression that I disliked Our Idiot Brother. You would be wrong. It certainly isn’t a dazzling comedic gem but nor is it an abject failure. Instead it is a perfectly serviceable film that can while away a few hours very comfortably. However, with the wealth of cinematic brilliance that is on display at the World Cinema Showcase, Our Idiot Brother is hardly what I would deem a must see picture.

Our Idiot Brother has one more screening on Tuesday 10th April at 4:15, at the Paramount.

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