Who would ever think the words “sensitive,” “heartwarming” or “emotional” would be used to describe a movie starring Paul Rudd?
Taking on a completely new role in “Our Idiot Brother,” Rudd plays Ned, an easy-to-love man with a big heart and almost childlike naivete.
Ned’s innocence first leads him astray when he sells weed to a uniformed police officer, landing him in jail.
Released early, his attempt to move back in with his ex-girlfriend — played by Kathryn Hahn — is spoiled when he arrives, only to find another man has taken his place.
At this point in the film the very informal “custody battle” over Willie Nelson, Ned’s beloved golden retriever begins.
This proves to be the closest Ned will get to a love story in the film, but seeing a man reunited with his dog is enough to tug on at least a few strings of the heart.
Zooey Deschanel takes on her usual role as the artsy, semi-awkward sister of Ned.
Completing the sisterly duo is Elizabeth Banks, the selfishly successful journalist and Emily Mortimer, the semi-dysfunctional mother of two.
Each sister takes a turn housing Ned. However, through a series of innocently spilled secrets, each sister angrily passes him along to the next until he winds up back at home with his mom, only for them to realize the love they would be missing out on without him in their lives.
“Our Idiot Brother” brings attention to the flaws that adults develop as defense mechanisms, tools to success or ways to cope with their own unhappiness.
Ned never seemed to develop these flaws and retained a youthful innocence in his view of the world.
Throughout the film, Ned’s misfortunes become a bit predictable, but nevertheless evoke empathy from the viewer.
What initially is a nice-guy-finishes-last tale turns around and proves that selflessness and unconditional love will always come full circle, and that dog is in fact man’s best friend.