In this age of digital media, Netflix is entering nearly everyone’s homes. The streaming service is now a part of nearly 35 million American households, a number which is growing by the day. With that in mind, this column will serve to highlight films you may have overlooked on Netflix. Everyone sees the big ads for World War Z and Pain & Gain when they log in to the service, so I’ll recommend a film each week that may not pop up on the Netflix home screen. There won’t be any negative reviews here, just suggestions that could come in handy on that random Wednesday evening when nothing is on TV.
“Our Idiot Brother” (2011)
Impeccably cast and relentlessly good-natured, Our Idiot Brother is a charming comedy that balances its sweet disposition with plenty of big laughs. Writer/director Jesse Peretz, a veteran of popular television comedies such as “New Girl,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Girls,” balances the screenplay’s playful nature with a realist streak that keeps it from straying into excessively saccharine territory.
Paul Rudd (Anchorman) stars as Ned, an overly idealistic hippie who has never held a job. Ned isn’t necessarily stupid, he’s just terribly naive, lacking even the most basic of street smarts -- in the opening scene, he’s arrested for selling marijuana to a uniformed police officer. Once Ned gets out of jail, the film focuses on his impact on the lives of his three sisters: Natalie (Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”), the impractical free-thinking hipster, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games), the workaholic Vanity Fair journalist, and Liz, the unhappy wife of a wealthy documentary filmmaker. Ned spends his time bouncing around between his sisters’ houses, unintentionally inserting himself into their personal lives. His presence creates turmoil for each woman that forces each to reevaluate her direction in life.