Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 15-Mar-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows (1:32) 1080p.
Trailer-The Ides of March (1:41) 1080p.
Trailer-My Week with Marilyn (1:56) 1080p.
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 89:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jesse Peretz
Studio
Distributor
Hyde Park
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Paul Rudd
Elizabeth Banks
Emily Mortimer
Zooey Deschanel
Rashida Jones
Adam Scott
Steve Coogan
Kathryn Hahn
Shirley Knight
T.J.Miller
Hugh Dancy
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Eric D. Johnson
Nathan Larson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Credits end 6:32 into action.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Here is a film I really wanted to like. Featuring some of my favourite youngish actresses and my absolute favourite comedic actor, Our Idiot Brother had my expectations high. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. Perhaps it doesn't quite sustain the standard throughout its ninety minute running time, but there is more than enough here to bring a satisfied smile to the face of the most jaded filmgoer.

     First and foremost in any discussion of this film we have to look at the principal character, and the actor playing him. Ned Rochlin is a sweetly naive guy, who lives his life with innocence, love, trust and honesty. In today's world this probably makes him an "idiot", as he is continually being exploited by the wisely cynical world around him. Our well-meaning protagonist smiles at butterflies, cannot lie, laughs at misfortune and lives his life with an open heart and soul. Though much credit must go to the original story and screenplay, from director Jesse Peretz and his sister Eugenie, with assist from her husband David Schisgall, in the hands of a lesser actor this material could very easily become a maudlin mess. Happily the actor here is Paul Rudd, the best light actor at present working in American films. In the first moments of this film we see a street market where Ned (Paul Rudd) is selling his organically grown produce. Ned seems good natured and sweet, dispensing smiles and pleasantries with his goods, and is approached by the uniformed Officer Washburn (Bob Stephenson) whom Ned obviously knows. The officer is "down", Ned sympathises and is persuaded into selling the officer a stash of marijuana. The smiling and incredulous Ned is arrested and finds himself in prison for a few months. By the end of the film's credits he is released early, having "won most co-operative inmate - four months running!" and looking to return to his previous lifestyle. His former partner, in life and farming for "three beautiful years", Janet (Kathryn Hahn) has found herself a new mate, the dim-witted Billy (T.J. Miller) and Ned is kicked out, with Janet refusing to allow him to take his beloved border collie, Willy Nelson. Ned turns to his three sisters to find new digs.

     It is no surprise that the screenplay supplies Ned with three interestingly diverse siblings. The bulk of the film proceeds to reveal the impact Ned has on these three female lives, and of course their three lives are turned upside down. There is the eldest, the married and frazzled Liz (Emily Mortimer), whose philandering, documentary-making husband, Dylan (Steve Coogan) takes Ned on as a form of apprentice. Next is Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) a workaholic magazine writer, all stilettos and glam as she pursues her worldly goals, while in turn she is being pursued by the eager Jeremy (Adam Scott). Then there is the youngest, Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), the bohemian hipster who is in a lesbian relationship with the beautiful Cindy (Rashida Jones). Rounding out the family is Mom, Ilene, with a warm performance from Shirley Knight who began her screen career in Joshua Logan's Picnic way back in 1955.

     Admittedly the sub-plots may be a mite conventional, the conclusion predictable and there is an awkwardness at times with the shifts from comedy to drama. However, the film for the most part treads a sure line between the comedic and the dramatic, and the dialogue is clever, sharp and true. However, it is with the performances that this film scores, with not one miss in a large ensemble cast. Suitably slightly overweight, long-haired and bearded, Paul Rudd is superb. In his twenty year career Rudd has delighted us with cameo bits, such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Year One and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, and soared with starring roles in movies like Role Models and I Love You, Man. One film I treasure is his 1998 pairing with Jennifer Aniston in The Object of My Affection directed by Nicholas Hytner. Now fourteen years on, in Our Idiot Brother, Paul Rudd has never been better. He beautifully portrays the gentle humanity of Ned, without ever descending to schmaltz. How good it is to know that we have decades of films to look forward to from this talented actor.

     Rudd's central performance is surrounded by a bevy of talented actors, each giving his or her all to minor roles. Emily Mortimer (City Island), Elizabeth Banks (The Next Three Days) and Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer) work beautifully apart and together, making us quite believe in this interesting - and darned attractive - family. Making the most of their roles as the respective partners are Steve Coogan (The Trip), the always welcome Adam Scott (Leap Year) and the beautiful Rashida Jones (The Social Network). I should also mention T.J. Miller (Get Him to the Greek), who is extremely funny as the very slow Billy, and Hugh Dancy effective in a small role.

     This film glows, virtually and literally, with a beautiful high definition transfer. Technically the film is first rate. Sit back and thoroughly enjoy this movie that will keep a smile on your face for most of its ninety minutes, and maybe make you feel better about the world for quite a while after. This is not a great film, but it is one that leaves a very warm glow long after the end titles.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     What is there to say about a perfect high-definition transfer?

     Presented at the ratio of 1.85:1 in a 1080p transfer, this transfer delivers a gorgeous image for this delightful film. The images are crystal sharp, delivering enormous detail and texture to clothing, suburban exteriors, city streets, interiors, foliage - whatever is on the screen looks terrific, including the many close-ups of the very attractive female cast members. The detail also continues into the night shots, with good solid blacks contributing to the overall image quality. Colours are vibrant and at times eye-popping - look at the produce on display in the opening scene. Skin tones are excellent. I could not fault this transfer.

     There are English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which were sampled and found to be excellent. Three different colours are used to differentiate between speakers, and sound effects. Lines are also placed appropriately on the image.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are three audio streams : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 48 KhzN and English Audio Description for the Vision Impaired.

     This is a typical romantic comedy type soundtrack, with dialogue front and centre and fairly minimal activity from the surrounds. Dialogue is crystal clear, with no sync problems. There is the occasional effect, such as traffic and city noises, but surrounds are generally restricted to ambient activity. The popular music, featuring Willie Nelson, Nina Persson and Carole King amongst others, is produced very nicely, making full use of all channels.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired was sampled and found to be excellent, delivered by a youngish, male voice.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     This is a very bare disc :

Main Menu :

     The menu is attractive if rather basic, with a production still of the principals over a montage of scenes from the film. The audio is provided by "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old, Oak Tree", a song which is featured prominently in the film.

Start-Up Trailers (5:09)

     Three Roadshow trailers are unavoidable when the disc is inserted in the player. These are all excellent quality 1080p transfers, presented at 2.40:1. The trailers are :

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The American Zone A copy of Our Idiot Brother has the following Special Features, not on my local review disc.

     * Feature Commentary with director Jesse Peretz

     * Deleted and Extended Scenes : Standard Definition (9 minutes).

     * Featurette : Making of Our Idiot Brother : Standard Definition (15 minutes).

    * Spanish subtitles.

Summary

     Our Idiot Brother is a warm, gentle comedy that is a total antidote to the ugly vulgarity that generally is passed off as "funny" in today's world. The script may be predictable, but it is funny, literate and honest, with performances that are faultless. The three major femmes are delightful, while the central performance from Paul Rudd is an absolute gem - probably his best work to date. If you like comedies and/or Paul Rudd do not miss Our Idiot Brother. It is given a flawless Blu-ray transfer, but there were no extras on my review copy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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