Our Idiot Brother

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Our Idiot Brother Movie Poster Image
Mature comedy mixes edgy content, sweet substance.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A big chunk of the movie shows the positive repercussions that happen when people are more honest and kind with each other (though it also shows that there are people who look like they live kindness and compassion but are as aggressive as they come). Another message is that families do well when they stick together and support each other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie’s central figure, Ned (aka the idiot brother), lives and breathes the motto "kill them with kindness." He's compassionate to a fault and quietly teaches those around him to be more authentic, gentle, and self-aware.


Some yelling and screaming. Friends and family insult each other.


A man gets caught in a near threesome; viewers see another man naked (from the side), with a bare-chested woman astride him (her breasts are visible in profile). In another scene, a man is shown naked, his testicles quickly glimpsed. He’s with a woman; she's mostly clothed, but the suggestion is that they're caught having sex. A married woman flashes her husband, but viewers don’t see her (he makes a comment about her private parts). Frank discussion about the sexual habits of one of the sisters, who at one point is shown buttoning up after posing nude for an artist.


Many uses of words including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "c--k," "goddamn," "a--hole," "oh my God," and more.


Nair labels are prominently seen, as is the Apple computer logo.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man is shown passing a bag of weed to a cop. Later he admits to smoking some of it with a neighbor. Social drinking (wine, etc) at restaurants, family meals, and parties. One character is particularly fond of her wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this surprisingly wise comedy, while hilarious (though not in a showy, Hangover-esque way), addresses some mature themes, including infidelity, incarceration, and job boundaries. Swearing abounds (including plenty of "f--k"s), and some scenes are quite sexually charged, including one that shows a character at the beginning of a threesome. Most of the nudity is somewhat indirect -- viewable from the side or the back, in brief slices -- but plenty of action is implied, and there's some frank talk as well. A couple of scenes involve marijuana.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykeeyan January 29, 2012

really good

not the best movie but it is awesome
Parent Written byjhartsock81 January 17, 2012

Idiotic, describes it all.

I feel like an idiot for wasting money and time on this movie.
With some decent characters and acting but the storyline, just got dumber and dumber. There was a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebo344 September 5, 2016

Paul Rudd gave a down to earth performance in this dramedy.

Our Idiot Brother is a solid dramedy with great performances, mainly from Paul Rudd, who is so likable and down to earth and the story is decent. Grade: B.
Teen, 13 years old Written byHayffie24 June 20, 2015


This film had some really funny jokes in it and the cast were great.

Not suitable for young kids because there is a bit of nudity (you can see the side of a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Liz (Emily Mortimer), Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) get the chance to hang out with their brother, Ned (Paul Rudd), after he’s released from prison. A biodynamic farmer with nary a mean bone in his body, Ned landed in jail after a cop practically begged him to "help a brother out" and sell him some weed. (Ned wanted to give it to him for free, but the cop insisted on paying, hence the entrapment.) Ned's girlfriend is now an ex, and since she threw him out, he must bide his time with family and perform odd jobs until he’s back on his feet. The girls think Ned's the one who needs their help, but, as they all soon discover, they're the ones whose lives need makeovers. Liz's filmmaker husband (Steve Coogan) is preoccupied, Miranda is ready to sell her soul just to land a big story at Vanity Fair; and Natalie is distracted from her lesbian lover (Rashida Jones) by a New Age artist (Hugh Dancy).

Is it any good?

OUR IDIOT BROTHER is funny. It's also shockingly wise. And both of these wonderful attributes don't hit you until the end, when you're overwhelmed by the film's cumulative moments of genius and hilarity. This isn't your average stoner comedy, and it's far from your average comedy of manners. To a person, it gets its characterizations right, from Ned's uber-PC ex-girlfriend with hostility issues to Miranda's type-A New York journalist to Ned himself. He’s a walking, talking personification of the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy," a giant peace sign combined with the iconic smiley face.


What makes the movie most successful, apart from the uniformly strong performances from the entire cast, is its depth. It would be so easy to dismiss Ned as a dope, except that the way he approaches the world makes sense. Far from idiocy, it may just be the recipe for sanity. The film's pacing sometimes nearly grinds to a halt, but that's a rare moment. Otherwise, it's pretty brilliant.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ned and his sisters. How would you characterize their relationships? Do they seem authentic and believable? How do they compare to family members you've seen in other movies?

  • What are the movie's messages about family and relationships?

  • Parents, talk to your kids about how Ned approaches life. Does it work for him? Why?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

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