Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Idiot Brother (Jesse Peretz, 2011) -- B

Jesse Peretz's Our Idiot Brother helps to rescue modern comedy from an abyss of improv-for-improv sake, excessive crudity (comedy = economy), and socio-political subterfuge, the naively eponymous Ned (Paul Rudd) almost a rebuke to contemporary cynicism, his kindness practically anachronistic in relation to his three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschnanel, Emily Mortimer) and their significant others (Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Steve Coogan). Refraining from mere situational insight, Peretz steers Ned's fuck-ups away from fodder for idiot savant beneficence (this is not Forrest Gump), lending his humanity a sincerity and the film a sophistication that, in its best moments, strikes a commendable level of unsentimental pathos, locating feeling instead of fashionable vulgarity. Our Idiot Brother is, in retrospect, the summer's only comedy that treats its subjects with care (Bridesmaids might be sporadically cannier, but it's far less composed) and doesn't abuse the genre for cheap laughs (Horrible Bosses and Bad Teacher being the primary offenders). Peretz's charming direction is a refreshing antidote to Apatowian deception.

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