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From cannabis to lesbian make-outs and plenty of male genitalia, Our Idiot Brother is likely to cause quite a sensation this Fall. The independent film, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival last January, where it was picked up by Harvey Weinstein,  boasts an all-star cast known for their work in comedies such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, Knocked Up and Anchor Man.

The idiot brother, Ned (Paul Rudd) is a free spirit, and a golden-retriever-owning gardener whose goal is to create a Tumion, the result of the cross pollination of a tomato and an onion.  

Ned is sent to prison after being easily duped into offering marijuana to a police officer at a farmers market. His release from jail lands him on his family’s doorstep where he systematically disrupts the lives of his three type-A overachieving sisters, Natalie (Zooey Dechanel) the bisexual hipster, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) the journalist, and Liz (Emily Mortimer) the perfectionist housewife. While Ned means well, his lack of verbal tact and idiotic idealism makes living with him a challenge

Movie shots of the independent film Our Idiot Brother.Director Jesse Peretz and his sister Evgenia wrote this role for Rudd but most fans couldn’t care less. They’re buzzing about the anticipated lesbian lip lock between Dechanel and  Rashida Jones who plays Cindy, Natalie’s large, unabomber-style-glasses-wearing girlfriend. The sexy smooch takes place during a family dinner and most theatergoers will likely be on the edge of their seats until then.

When asked about the steamy scene, Jones, known for her role as Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation, responded, laughing, “I’ve come a long way from my first job, when I had to get mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from Rip Torn.”  

She added, “I'm kind of like a conservative lesbian here, because I'm a lawyer, and I work with a lot of conservative people," Jones said. "I have like a preppy kind of hipster — ironic preppy, is my look. I'm kind of like Ann [her Parks and Recreation character] — a very loyal, stable, consistent force in her girlfriend's life."

"I wanted to make sure it was an honest portrayal and that it wasn't a cartoon," Jones added. "And I wanted the way that I dress to be different than I do — not because I wanted to make it a cartoon, but because I wanted it to be distinctive. And I wanted to do it service. I just really wanted people to buy it, and make it feel real."

The movie came from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, Big Beach Films. The motion picture had a budget of $10 million and was filmed entirely in New York. “There’s a real thrill about shooting where you live,” Rudd said  at a press conference at Sundance.

He went on to talk about his work with actor Steve Coogan who, during a improvised scene, gets completely nude. “It’s weird when you meet somebody and then the next thing you know you’re seeing their balls,” said Rudd.

Rudd was not the only one talking about the movie’s shock value. “It has a lot of surprising humor,” said Elizabeth Banks during a recent interview. “The movie has a surprising number of penises in it!”

While the film was completed at what some are calling record time, it still suffered some setbacks. “It was constantly 98 to 102 degrees almost every day of the shoot until the last week,” said Director Peretz.

Ned’s costumes included sweaters and jackets in some scenes. That in combination with facial hair and long locks left Rudd feeling the heat. “I love growing big beards and I do it often,” said Rudd, adding “but usually it’s in the winter.”

Meanwhile, Weinstein has spent the last few months tweaking the film. Since its debut at Sundance, five minutes have been shaved from the picture's running time, and the final scene has been changed — with the growth of Rudd's character winding up on a less open-ended note.

Rudd thinks the film plays differently than what might be expected. "There's more to it than what some people might think when they hear the title or the cast," he said. "I hope people are going to say, 'Wow, that movie was different than what I thought — but in a good way.'  

But at least one thing is certain. This film is sure to keep  you laughing and wishing you could warn Ned before he makes yet another mistake.  Our Idiot Brother is sure to hit home with audiences who love a good laugh! Like the movie’s tagline says, “we all have one”.

My Idiot Brother premieres Friday, August 26! Don’t miss it!
www.Dishmag.com / Issue 126 - September 2018
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