blog

Weekly movie trailer roundup: SHUT UP LITTLE MAN and OUR IDIOT BROTHER

With today’s release of SHUT UP, LITTLE MAN and OUR IDIOT BROTHER, it’s officially a Sundance festival weekend! Regardless of my obvious affiliation and personal bias, I’m pretty darn excited for these two, so excited, in fact, that I actually used an exclamation mark to express myself (I never do that). I didn’t go to the festival last January and aside from these two trailers, not a teaser or clip have I seen.

Peter, a flamboyant gay man, and Raymond, a raging homophobe, are roommates in a low-rent, San Francisco apartment in the late 80s. They’re old, and they’re loud – really, really loud. In SHUT UP, LITTLE MAN, a documentary one critic likened to a “punk rock Errol Morris,” we see – or rather, hear -the story of how Raymond and Peter became accidental cultural phenomenons when two young guys, Eddie and Mitch, moved in next door. At first they started recording their aging, angry neighbors as a lark, but soon they became obsessed, making hundreds of tapes over the course of a year and a half. Once the tapes got out it spread like cute cats on YouTube, only YouTube wasn’t around yet. Some call what Eddie and Mitch did exploitation, but those people have clearly never had loud neighbors. Speaking as someone who has suffered through some atrocious neighbor and roommate scenarios (I’m talking loud screaming, vase-breaking, half-dressed neighbor girl running out in the street and yelling at the cops who were regularly called on her, usually at about 3am), I say all is fair in neighbor-recording and tape duplication.

In OUR IDIOT BROTHER (which appears on some website as MY IDIOT BROTHER, but it’s OUR), Paul Rudd is the lovable loser Ned, one of those kind-hearted, happy-go-lucky guys that manages to screw everything up, despite his best intentions. He had good intentions, for example, when he offered that down-in-the-dumps cop some weed to brighten his day. He’s promptly sent to jail for a few months, and when he gets out he crashes with his sisters, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) – who’s dating Cindy (Rashida Jones) and Liz (Emily Mortimer) – who’s married to Dylan (Steve Coogan). All of these people are funny, and from the looks of things they’re also really funny as an ensemble cast. And, as far as I can tell, they’ve managed to avoid the familiar comedy pitfalls of being either too predictable, too indie/twee or phony/quirky or too heavy one type of joke or brand of physical comedy. This might just be the perfect film to wrap up the (sob) end of summer.