In Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd takes on the title role of Ned who can best be described as an East Coast New York version of ‘the Dude’ in the Great Lebowski as he is living the dream of a hippie in a time where being a hippie is akin to being the last one picked in gym class. In fact, the film kicks off with Ned being not quite as cool as he sells pot to a uniformed police officer at a farmers’ market and is quickly and easily sent to serve off his sentence in jail.
While Ned is set up to look stupid at the beginning of the film and from the trailers, it is soon realized that Ned is not just a dumb kid, but that he has a solid misguided belief that people are pure-hearted just like him and that whatever they say or ask him they wholeheartedly mean. For this reason, he always seems to get the wrong end of the stick because the answer that most people want to hear is not the answer that Ned usually offers up because his motto is nothing but the truth so help him God.
After he gets out of jail, Ned quickly is faced with a new world where right and wrong are easily covered by the right words, if only he knew them. The first thing he discovers is that his girlfriend is now with another guy leaving him homeless and away from his dog Willie Nelson that Janet tells him is hers since her friend left the pooch behind. Ned sets off determined to get his dog back but first he needs to get some money and back on his own so he heads to NYC to his sisters’ homes.
He stops first at motherly sis Liz’s home who offers Ned some money if he watches her son and helps her dirtbag filmmaker husband with a few films, but soon Ned’s inability to look the other way lands him on his way again to his next bachelorette sister’s house Miranda. Miranda is working on a top story for a magazine that she hopes will launch her career and as you might guess Ned quickly screws up her big opportunity landing him on his way again to his last sister’s house, Natalie.
Natalie is bi-curious and shares her home with her girlfriend and the hipster pair would appear lose enough that Ned could pull it off, but give him a few days and he screws it up as well. What happens from here is too good to give away, but watching the family affair as Ned is juggled from one sibling to the next is quite a bit of fun and Peretz from the Lemonheads excels as a director.
For those who want a hint however, Ned claims to be a patent device to teach everyone how to communicate and say what they really mean, if you can believe that then you may just have a bit of Ned in you as well.