I wouldn’t call “Arthur” a disaster, for the simple fact that I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece to begin with. I’ve never seen the 1981 movie, starring legendary comedian Dudley Moore, but I can tell you that I liked the casting of Russel Brand and Helen Mirren in the leading roles here, even if the story feels awfully uneven at times. I have very fond memories of several Dudley Moore films (“Unfaithfully Yours” was especially hilarious), so in a way, I know that Brand’s comedy is much different. The man’s a talent, no doubt, but unfortunately, he can’t carry a whole movie all by himself (I noticed that the first time in “Get Him To The Greek”). The story here is simple enough: Brand is Arthur Bach, a billionaire playboy so spoiled and reckless, that his mother orders him to get married or risk losing his inheritance. To make things even worse, his bride-to-be (a wasted Jennifer Garner) is a corporate go-getter who doesn’t even like him. A few days later, Arthur runs into Naomi (Greta Gerwig), an unlicensed tour guide who dreams of writing children’s book (how cute). Arthur loves Naomi, but the bastard also loves alcohol and his unlimited access to the family fortune. So what’s it gonna be Arthur? The money or the woman of your dreams?
The film’s main problem is that it never dares to give our main character a heart. We are never given a reason to care for him, and the script never really dives into the premise, circling around issues of alcoholism, greed, and family pressures in the silliest of ways. Thankfully though, actual comedy emerges from time to time, thanks to a sharp dialogue and Brand’s clever improvisation. What’s more, Helen Mirren adds charm to the story as well, playing Arthur’s nanny, and the movie would be literally nothing without her. But that’s about it, as the rest of the film feels awfully silly and forgettable. It is only between those silly scenes that the film finds moments that are cute and genuine. Judge for yourself.
Categories: The Twenty-First Century