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WEINSTEIN COMPANY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jesse Peretz
Cast:
Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer , Francesca Papalia, Rashida Jones, Bob Stephenson, Peter Hermann, Adam Scott
Writing Credits:
David Schisgall, Evgenia Peretz

Synopsis:
Paul Rudd stars in this witty and highly relatable comedy about that one family member who is always just a little bit behind the curve. For sisters Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer) that person is their upbeat brother Ned, an organic farmer whose willingness to rely on honesty and trusting of humankind allows for a trouble-free existence. Ned may be utterly lacking in common sense, but he is their brother and after his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters once again come to his rescue. As Liz, Emily and Natalie each take a turn at housing Ned, their brother's unfailing commitment to honesty creates more than a few messes in their comfortable routines. But after seeing life through Ned’s optimistic perspective, his family comes to realize that maybe, Ned isn't such an idiot after all.

Box Office:
Budget
$5 million.
Opening Weekend
$7.011 million on 2555 screens.
Domestic Gross
$24.809 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 11/29/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Jesse Peretz
• Four Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “The Making of Our Idiot Brother” Featurette
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Our Idiot Brother [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 24, 2011)

Last summer a friend and I looked for a movie to see. Knowing that she loves comedies and Paul Rudd, I thought she’d be up for Our Idiot Brother. However, she refused to see it because she thought it looked too stupid.

This from the woman who chortled heartily a year earlier when we saw the execrable – and relentlessly, tremendously, utterly stupid - Grown Ups. And she’s the same woman who honestly views flicks like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter Is Dead, Weekend At Bernie’s and Dream a Little Dream as classic cinema.

What’s the point? None, really, other than I felt the need to use my review of Our Idiot Brother to gripe about My Idiot Friend.

Free-spirited hippie Ned Rochlin (Rudd) spends eight months in jail after he sells pot to a cop. When he emerges, he loses his job, his girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn), and even his dog Willie Nelson.

With no place else to go, Ned imposes on family until he can raise the $1000 he needs to rent a place. He bounces from one relative to another as we meet his mom (Shirley Knight) and sisters Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), Liz (Emily Mortimer) and Miranda (Elizabeth Banks). We follow Ned’s path and see his impact on his family.

I understand that it’s a punchy title, but Our Idiot Brother seems misleading to me. Ned isn’t a moron; he’s just totally innocent and naïve. I don’t think it’s a coincidence Ned looks so much like Jesus, and the movie treats him like someone who helps others without thought for himself. He’s a naif but he’s not an idiot.

Our Naïve Brother doesn’t work so well as a title, though, so Idiot Ned is! And he does act like an imbecile at times; he’s just so trusting that he performs actions that seem beyond belief.

In someone else’s hands, Ned could become insufferable in many ways. He could seem preachy, or he could seem stupid, or he could seem to overtly childlike. Rudd manages to make Ned a reasonably believable character, however. We buy Ned’s innocence but don’t see him as some overgrown baby; he still feels like a man and a semi-realistic person.

The rest of the cast fares less well, though it’s hard to fault them since they get less fulfilling characters. Essentially all three of the sisters boil down to little more than basic personality types; the script fails to expand them into full-fledged human beings. The actors probably do more with the parts than the written page would indicate, but don’t expect miracles. (And don’t expect a believable American accent from Mortimer – she never feels natural in that way.) The sisters are fairly unlikable in many ways and that never really changes, even after their inevitable realization that Ned’s not quite the moronic burden they used to believe.

In addition to iffy characters, Brother comes with a fairly formless presentation. We see character arcs but not much in the way of actual plot. Unlike the one-dimensional supporting roles, this doesn’t act like an impediment, though. Any attempt to graft a true plot would’ve felt artificial, so I’m fine with the somewhat rambling story. It doesn’t do much to go from A to Z, but it offers a reasonable number of opportunities for comedy, so it works fine.

Ultimately, Brother delivers a moderately enjoyable but not wholly satisfying flick. It has enough wit and cleverness to keep us with it, but it lacks a certain clarity and punch that’d take it to another level.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Our Idiot Brother appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not stellar, the transfer was always good.

Some minor issues with sharpness arose. At times, wide shots looked a bit on the soft side and lacked expected delineation. However, those instances were infrequent, so the majority of the movie appeared accurate and concise. I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

The film went with a subdued palette that tended toward a somewhat airy, blown-out look, Though it lacked a lot of peppy hues, the presentation seemed fine, as the colors worked well within the flick’s design. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. Though this wasn’t a great transfer, it was strong enough for a “B”.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Brother deliver something pretty typical for a character-based comedy. This was a chatty flick that lacked any significant “showy” sequences. Stereo music and general ambience ruled the day. These gave us a decent sense of place but rarely much more.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed acceptable.

A handful of extras fill out the disc. We open with an audio commentary from director Jesse Peretz. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the project's origins, influences and development, story/character/script topics, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, and some other film-related details.

Despite occasional bouts of dead air, Peretz delivers a pretty strong commentary here. He traces the film’s roots well and gives us a nice take on the appropriate topics. Even with the gaps, the piece moves along well and gives us a consistently informative and breezy chat.

Four Deleted and Extended Scenes run a total of eight minutes, 56 seconds. We find “Ned Takes the Subway” (3:19), “Ned Waits for John” (0:18), “Ned in Prison” (0:39) and “Alternate Ending” (4:40). “Subway” and “John” offer a subplot in which Ned gives all his money to an apparent scam artist, while “Prison” shows how Ned remains positive even in the darkest circumstances. Finally, the “Ending” sends Ned off on his own in a different manner; it also concludes the scam artist theme in a more positive way. All are fun to see and would’ve worked fine in the final cut; it’s too bad we don’t get commentary here to explain the deletions/alterations/

Finally, The Making of Our Idiot Brother goes for 14 minutes, 36 seconds and offers notes from Peretz, writer Evgenia Peretz, producers Anthony Bregman and Peter Saraf, and actors Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Janet Montgomery, Adam Scott, Steve Coogan, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, and Hugh Dancy. “Making” looks at story and characters, cast and performances, Peretz’s work on the set, and thoughts about the shoot. We get a few decent notes here but “Making” is mostly a promotional piece without much substance.

The disc opens with ads for Dirty Girl and Submarine. No trailer for Brother shows up here.

With Our Idiot Brother, we find a decent character-based comedy. Paul Rudd’s work as the lead does the most to redeem it; without him, the film probably would’ve flopped. The Blu-ray provides good picture and audio along with supplements highlighted by a useful commentary. This isn’t a great movie, but it’s usually enjoyable, and the Blu-ray presents it well.

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