Another fish-out-of-water story, "Our Idiot Brother" never really makes a huge impact. It contains a few laughs certainly, but it's not one of the outstanding entries in this year's adult comedy genre.
Paul Rudd is lovable but irritating as Ned, a fellow without any guile who works selling vegetables at a farmers market. When he is approached by a uniform police officer who gives him a hard-luck story about having had a bad week, Ned takes pity on him and sells the officer a bag of pot. Of course the officer immediately arrests Ned and takes away his beloved dog named Willie Nelson.
A few months later, Ned is out of jail and returns home to find that his girlfriend has another man in her life and also claims that Willie Nelson is hers. Without his dog or a place to stay, Ned ends up in the homes of his sisters: Liz (Emily Mortimer), whose husband is a filmmaker; Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), who will do just about anything to pursue her career in magazine journalism; and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), who thinks she prefers women to men ... or maybe not.
Ned just plain can't keep his mouth shut and is too honest to keep a secret. He makes a wreck of the lives in each household where he stays until everyone is ready to kick him out except his mother, who drinks her days away.
I enjoyed the relationship Ned has with his nephew, who is being coaxed into playing music but secretly wants to learn martial arts. His parents think martial arts is too violent, but Uncle Ned enjoys finding martial arts on YouTube to learn about along with his eager nephew, only to find that the boy's new interest leads to what his parents think is a disaster.
The show starts out looking like a dark comedy but ends up with a typical Hollywood ending. This is more of a matinee or a rental than a dinner-and-a-movie destination. There's a lot of talent in this cast, and that's why the material works sometimes. It's just that if you go in expecting the outrageous laughs of "Friends With Benefits," you're going to be disappointed.
The script certainly isn't idiotic. But it doesn't have the smarts that many of its predecessors boast.