Our Idiot Kin

Window-shopping is one of the most enjoyable elements of the holiday season; family is one of the most trying. Window-shopping, whether for in-laws, off-spring or oneself, offers the promise of the perfect fit, the pleased smile, the “just right.” Family, whether blood or extended, is more akin to the checkerboard cardigan or the Hickory Farms cheese ball bought at closeout: no refunds, no exchanges. So, we are forced to either bear with our folks or bitch about them, both with the right mix of St. Germain and champagne. Jesse Peretz‘s OUR IDIOT BROTHER is deserving of four out of five cups from the punch bowl. The under-apreciated 2011 family comedy (or “fam-edy” as Adam Scott refers to it in the DVD extras) is a surprisingly sincere yet still flat-out silly tale of irritating, yet lovable relatives that gets it right. Yes, we may ruin each other’s lives, but that’s part of the charm, no? Paul Rudd is stellar as the titular, truthful shlemiel, harnessing his functional stoner charm for a role more meaningful than his unconvincing turns as the lead in too many half-baked romantic comedies. The rest of the movie is so charmingly cast, it is impossible to resist; I wish I were related to Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Shirley Knight, Rashida Jones and Elizabeth Banks (even if she is reduced to approximating Parker Posey, bad hair and all). Throw in great bits by Kathryn Hahn and T.J. Miller and some sly, scene-stealing moments courtesy of Steve Coogan (though I could have lived without seeing his two egg cups and a kidney dish) and you have the possibility of the most uproarious reunion ever. In a year of strong comedies, OUR IDIOT BROTHER ranks in the top five. What do YOU think? During Season 1 of The High Bar, best-selling author and trouble-making blogger Jennifer Worick visited to raise a toast to and raise the bar for the functional family. Grab a beer, pull up a stool and draw your own conclusions… or rewrite your will. In the meantime, I’m going window-shopping. Would love to find the perfect suit… and upgrade my sibling.

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