Our Idiot Brother

Our Idiot Brother
Our Idiot Brother Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJesse Peretz
Produced byAnthony Bregman
Peter Saraf
Marc Turtletaub
Screenplay byEvgenia Peretz
David Schisgall
Story byEvgenia Peretz
David Schisgall
Jesse Peretz
StarringPaul Rudd
Elizabeth Banks
Zooey Deschanel
Emily Mortimer
Steve Coogan
Hugh Dancy
Kathryn Hahn
Rashida Jones
Shirley Knight
T. J. Miller
Adam Scott
Music byEric D. Johnson
Nathan Larson
CinematographyYaron Orbach
Edited byJacob Craycroft
Big Beach Films
Likely Story
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company
Walkmark Films
Release date
  • January 22, 2011 (2011-01-22) (Sundance)
  • August 26, 2011 (2011-08-26) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[2]
Box office$25.9 million[3]

Our Idiot Brother is a 2011 American comedy-drama film directed by Jesse Peretz and starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. The script was written by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall based on Jesse and Evgenia Peretz's story, and tells the story of a dimwitted but idealistic and well-meaning man who intrudes and wreaks havoc in his three sisters' lives.

The film was co-produced by Anthony Bregman, Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub. It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival[4] and was given wide release on August 26, 2011.[5] The film received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising the story and Rudd's performance, but criticizing the uneven script.


Ned Rochlin, a biodynamic agriculture farmer living with his girlfriend, Janet, is arrested for selling marijuana – with good intentions – to a uniformed police officer.

Ned has three sisters: Miranda, a journalist hoping to publish her first major article with Vanity Fair, and hiding feelings for her neighbor, Jeremy; Natalie, a hipster living with her girlfriend Cindy and five other roommates; and Liz, married to documentary filmmaker Dylan, who shows no interest in her; they maintain strict control over their son River, leaving him unable to express himself. (He is seen in a boring interpretive dance class, but longs to take karate.)

Paroled, Ned discovers Janet is living with Billy and no longer wishes to continue their relationship or allow Ned on the farm. Billy suggests Ned may be able to rent the goat barn behind the farm. Initially staying at his mother's house, Ned asks to stay with Liz. Put in River's room, he is told to help with Dylan’s newest documentary about Russian ballerina Tatiana.

Miranda reluctantly asks Ned to chauffeur while she interviews Lady Arabella, but is legally unable to pry into her scandalous past, while Ned’s friendliness charms Arabella. Ned attends a self-help meeting with Natalie. Her friend Christian is attracted to Natalie but dissuaded by her lesbian relationship, until Ned explains she is bisexual. Christian and Natalie take a cab home and have sex.

Ned is told to watch the car while Dylan interviews Tatiana. Ordered by a police officer to move the car, Ned runs upstairs and discovers Dylan naked with Tatiana, believing Dylan’s claim that he was only making Tatiana "comfortable". At her benefit dinner, Arabella shares gossipy details of her life with Ned, who is kicked out of Liz's house after River announces Ned’s legal trouble at an important school interview.

Staying with Miranda, Ned mentions Dylan's nude interview, and Miranda concludes Dylan is having an affair. Realizing Ned has the details she needs about Arabella, Miranda forces him to tell her. Ashamed, Ned returns to the farm with but Janet does not allow him to rent the barn or leave with his dog, “Willie Nelson”.

Ned asks Cindy, a lawyer, how to get custody of his dog, which she suggests they steal back. He has lunch with Jeremy, who explains that Miranda is too bossy for him. Miranda is hurt when Ned mentions the conversation and reveals her thoughts on Jeremy, leading to a fight between the two. Natalie confides to Ned that she is pregnant. Miranda and Nat try to tell Liz about Dylan's affair, which leads to an argument about all their personal lives. Confronting Dylan, Liz divorces him.

Miranda takes Ned to vouch for her article, but he is unwilling to sign a release as Arabella spoke to him in confidence. The company lawyer decides they cannot publish the article, and Miranda kicks Ned out. He stays with Nat, who lies about having told Cindy about Christian. Cindy and Ned sneak onto the farm to retrieve his dog, but Ned mentions Nat's infidelity and Cindy angrily calls her from inside the house, alerting Janet, who refuses to give Ned his dog. Cindy drives away, leaving Ned behind.

Ned naively tells his parole officer, Omar, that he smoked marijuana with a neighbor. Arriving for a family dinner, Ned is blamed by his sisters for the trouble in their lives, driving Ned to yell at them for their selfishness. Omar arrives to reluctantly take Ned into custody. Miranda posts Ned's bail, but he opts to stay in prison rather than be with his sisters. They devise a plan to get Willie Nelson from Janet; although she refuses, Billy gives them the dog. Reunited with Willie Nelson, Ned is motivated to leave prison.

A few weeks later, Ned is out to lunch with his sisters. Cindy calls Nat, asking to go with her to her OB/GYN appointments, while Miranda has started a relationship with Jeremy, and Liz is dating again and letting River be himself. Ned and Billy have opened up a small homemade candle shop. Searching for Willie Nelson, Ned finds him playing with another runaway dog. Ned asks the owner her dog's name; she replies "Dolly Parton", to which Ned says his dog is "Willie Nelson", and they both smile.




The story was conceived by Jesse Peretz and his sister Evgenia, who had written a screenplay together before but were unable to finance the project. They greatly enjoyed working together though, so they decided to draft another story, this time "a bit more commercial" and with characters in their 30s.[6] They planned to cast actors with whom Peretz was already friends, and created the main character with Paul Rudd in mind.[6][7] The script was written by Evgenia Peretz and her husband David Schisgall, and was completed by December 2009 under the original title of My Idiot Brother.[7]

Peretz brought the script to producer Anthony Bregman, with whom he had worked on the 2007 film The Ex. According to Bregman, "I was always looking for something to do with him [Peretz] and he came to me with this script. It was fantastic."[7] Bregman was familiar with producers Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub and had previously attempted to collaborate with the two. He sent them the script in April 2010 and Saraf said that he "loved it and was eager to work with both of them [Bregman and Peretz]."[7] The film was co-financed by Bregman's production company, "Likely Story" and Saraf and Turtletaub's company, "Big Beach",[8] with a budget of less than $10 million.[7] The project developed unusually rapidly for an independent film; Bregman remarked in September 2010, "We worked on it for a few months and then it came together really quickly for the world of independent film. [...] We will have a cut of the film less than a year after we saw this script."[7] Saraf said, "This movie will set a record for how quickly it came together: from the time I first read the script to the time we wrapped the shoot was four months."[7]


Paul Rudd signed on to play the lead role even before Saraf and Turtletaub had picked up the film.[7] The principal cast was announced in early June, including the roles played by Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel, and Rashida Jones.[9] Additional cast members including Hugh Dancy, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley Knight, Janet Montgomery and Steve Coogan were announced in late July.[8][10]


Principal photography began in July 2010 and took a total of 30 days[7] over a six-week span.[6] Filming took place in and around New York City, with a 30% tax credit from the New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development.[7] Various locations were used in Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as Upstate New York;[6] specific locations included Washington Heights, Cold Spring, New York, The Hamptons, Hotel Chelsea and Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg.[11] Post production was completed in Big Beach's New York offices.[7]


Our Idiot Brother received positive reviews from critics, holding a 68% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 136 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The critical consensus reads: "It's decidedly uneven, but like Paul Rudd's performance in the title role, Our Idiot Brother is too charming to resist."[12] The film also received a score of 60 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[13]

Home media[edit]

Our Idiot Brother was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 29, 2011.


  1. ^ "Sundance Film Festival 2011: My Idiot Brother". Sundance.Slated.com. Archived from the original on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (25 August 2011). "Movie Projector: 'The Help' to brush off the competition again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Our Idiot Brother (2011) - Financial Information".
  4. ^ Savage, Sophia; Thompson, Anne (2 December 2010). "Sundance Out-of-Competition Lineup Adds Stars, Classics and Many For-Sale Titles". indieWire. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  5. ^ Nicholson, Max (21 July 2010). "My Idiot Brother Expands its Cast". IGN. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Brooks, Brian; Renninger, Bryce J. (14 July 2010). "In the Works: Star-Studded "Idiot Brother," "NYC B&B," Sweaty Bombay, Immigrant Musician & Puppets!". indieWire. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kay, Jeremy (9 September 2010). "My Idiot Brother". Screen International. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  8. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (28 July 2010). "Steve Coogan Joins 'My Idiot Brother'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  9. ^ Barrett, Annie (9 June 2010). "'My Idiot Brother': Presenting Paul Rudd's sisters." Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  10. ^ Kilday, Gregg (21 July 2010). "Four actors join Paul Rudd comedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  11. ^ Perlman, Matthew (18 July 2010). "My Idiot Brother". NYC Production News. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  12. ^ Our Idiot Brother at Rotten Tomatoes
  13. ^ Our Idiot Brother at Metacritic

External links[edit]