“My Idiot Brother,” Reviewed

“My Idiot Brother,” Reviewed (photo)

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The cast of “My Idiot Brother” is so overstuffed with talent it almost seems unfair, like the film should be subject to some kind of comedy handicap. Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel play a trio of sisters leading lives of various complications in New York City. Steve Coogan, Adam Scott and Rashida Jones appear as their various love interests, Shirley Knight, Kathryn Hahn and others turn up in smaller roles. And, of course, there’s Paul Rudd as the title character, more commonly known as Ned, a farmer of organic produce and pot who in a mixture of stupidity and naive generosity gifts some of his contraband to a uniformed officer who claims to be in need because he’s having a tough week, and who then busts him.

Even when he’s doing smarmy, there’s never a doubt that the majority of the characters Rudd plays are fundamentally nice guys with squishy centers. But Ned is on another level, one washed with a perma-stoned, blissfully optimistic haze. Shaggy, clueless, shorts-wearing and intent on always seeing the best in people, Ned is a hippie holy fool, one who just wants to hang out with his dog Willie Nelson and work on his tomion (a tomato/onion hybrid that will make spaghetti sauce that much easier), but who ends up farmless and dogless after his stint in jail. He stays first with his white wine drunk of a mother (Knight) in Long Island, and then which each of his sisters in succession, accidentally and with the best of intentions wreaking havoc on each of their lives.

With its stars and sleek production values, “My Idiot Brother” could be an Apatow comedy (it was directed by Jesse Peretz, of 2001’s “The Château”), right down to the rueful warmth infused into its portrayals of domestic relationships. But Peretz’s film actually has prominent female characters (the script was co-written by David Schisgall and Peretz’s sister Evgenia) who are there for more than just to scold, ones who are more ambitious and less cripplingly pure of heart than Ned. Mortimer is an overprotective, frazzled mother, Banks a cutthroat magazine writer, Deschanel a hipster flake/would-be stand-up comedian, and they’re so entrenched in these roles that they resent the intrusion of someone who doesn’t grasp the social rules that allow them to operate, and who without meaning to forces them to come to terms with the compromises, moral and otherwise, they make. Ned may be the star, but his sisters actually try to live in this world. They’re the ones that grow and change over the course of the film, and in the current dude-centric state of the comedy, that’s something to see.

“My Idiot Brother” has been acquired for a theatrical release by the Weinstein Company.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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