I think you see where this is going, and if not, here you go: Paul Rudd is not absolutely hilarious opposite Rashida Jones or Elizabeth Banks in “Our Idiot Brother.” He’s only occasionally funny, but given the man’s potential, that’s a disappointment. None of this is his fault, of course; he’s saddled with a script by two first-timers so undercooked, it needs an overhaul.
As laid-back, optimistic stoner Ned, the “Idiot Brother” of the title (too idiotic to be credible, even for a comedy) who’s fresh out of jail after serving a sentence for selling pot to a cop, Rudd suddenly flutters back into the lives of his three very different sisters, individually screws them up, then patches things all back up again in a tidy bow by the time the blooper-laden credits roll.
None of the sibs is well-developed. Banks is the high-strung Vanity Fair writer; Zooey Deschanel (TV’s “New Girl”) is the lesbian stand-up comedian; and Emily Mortimer (“Hugo“) is the unhappy housewife to a cheating documentary filmmaker played by Steve Coogan (“The Trip“). Too many side stories spoils the movie’s chance to tell one good one; jokes seem forced and often like afterthoughts.
As a result, a talented cast is wasted, including supporting players Kathryn Hahn (TV’s “Hung“), Hugh Dancy (“Martha Marcy May Marlene“) and Adam Scott (TV’s “Parks and Recreation“), all of whom are so underutilized, you’ll wonder why they were hired. The film is not awful; it has its moments. One of those, unfortunately, contains something that can’t be unseen: Coogan’s taint. You’ve been warned of this clear and present danger. —Rod Lott