Written by: FFT Webmaster | August 30th, 2011
OUT OF 4
In a smart and satirical little film, plucked right out of Sundance, Paul Rudd plays a stoner-pothead- slacker named Ned who has no sense of what to say or do politically in mixed company. Directed by Jesse Peretz (TV’s Important Things With Demetri Martin)-and co-written by his sister, Vanity Fair‘s Evgenia Peretz, and her husband David Schisgall- the film is a gentle emotional lesson in how screwed up we all are. Borrowing loosely from the classic novel, “The Idiot” written by 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ned is a naïve, nice guy who believes in the good of everyone.
This innate trust prompts him to sell a bag of “weed” to a uniformed police officer who gets Ned a prison term for trafficking. Upon release for good behavior, Ned returns to the organic farm he once worked at and finds his girlfriend ((a wonderful Kathryn Hahn)has dumped him for another lightweight named Billy (T.J. Miller) and won’t even return his dog “Willie Nelson”. Ned is forced by circumstance to live with his mom but soon moves in with his three sisters. One sister, Natalie (indie icon Zooey Deschanel) is in a lesbian relationship with lawyer Cindy(Rashida Jones) Another, Miranda (the alluring Elizabeth Banks) is a writer for a magazine much like Vanity Fair and who uses Ned’s lack of people skills to secure a story that might advance her career. The third sister, Liz (an excellent Emily Mortimer) and her husband documentary filmmaker Dylan (Steve Coogan) exploit Ned as a baby-sitter and lowly film production assistant. As Ned resides with each sister he becomes the truth teller and exposes the lies and pretension s with which sister has built her routines. Ned introduces a strain of honesty that everyone has been suppressing and becomes a warm comforting figure we can all respect.