Friday 16 September 2011

Today's Review: Arthur

There's certainly nothing like a good remake. I haven't seen the original Arthur, but Wikipedia informs me that it received "universal acclaim". I probably would have enjoyed it more than this then.

Arthur stars Russell Brand as Arthur Bach, the son of a wealthy lady, Vivienne (Geraldine James), who has a $950m fortune that Arthur just likes to blow on frivolous stuff because he's a drunken playboy who never received enough love and care from his mummy or something like that. Btu people are starting to get a bit weary of Arthur's antics, and don't want to invest their money on a woman whose heir is a complete jackass, so Vivienne decides to marry him off to her assistant Susan (Jennifer Garner), in order to force him to grow up, and also to given control of the company to Susan so Arthur doesn't screw it up. Arthur doesn't want to be tied down to a woman he doesn't love though, because he likes having all the sex with drunken sluts and stuff. But with a threat of being cut off he reluctantly agrees. But by some sheer stroke of luck, he comes across a free spirited woman from Queens, Naomi (Greta Gerwig) the very next day and falls in love with her. Presumably because she's quirky and wears a bright yellow jacket. But now whatever will he do?

While Arthur may share some similarities with its previous version, this movie pretty much is all about Russell Brand being Russell Brand. He prances around as usual, acting drunk, as usual, and spouting random stuff that can at times be funny, as usual. I'm not sure if he's actually acting anymore. He's had so many of these roles that it seems like they just ask him to show up and talk for a few hours and then build the rest of the movie around him. Don't get me wrong, he can be quite funny and charming at time, but only occasionally. The rest of the time it just feels like he's trying to hard to be completely off the wall, and just comes off looking weird.

His character isn't all that great anyway. We're supposed to empathise with him, but really Arthur is a complete jackass. He throws money at every single problem that comes his way, and even when he falls in love with Naomi most of their encounters are so awkward it's hard to see their relationship going anywhere. I know a certain amount of improvisation went into the filming, but when this quirky couple are together they're just bouncing random stuff off each other rather than saying anything to advance their relationship.

Still, there are some funny moments, but you do have to wade through a lot of completely random stuff to get there. Garner does an alright job as the slightly crazy Susan, who, surprise surprise, has ulterior motives, because she needs to be evil so we don't care about her. Helen Mirren probably turns in the best performance besides Brand's as his nanny, Hobson, and she provides most of the humbling moments for Arthur where you actually almost start caring about him. The plot is predictable, but I wasn't really expecting it to be any other way really. It is fun to make a game out of how many plot points you can guess with complete accuracy though. All in all, I know it's supposed to be a feel good film, so I won't hold that too much against it.

Arthur isn't an awful film, it's just very unrefined. I know a lot of people like the whole ad-libbing thing in their movies because it really can produce some fantastic results. But they really went overboard with this one, and random dialogue is a largely intrusive factor in this movie, and does little to advance what little plot there is, and instead almost engulfs it. Russell Brand certainly plays a unique character, and this probably would have been a good thing if he hadn't already played the same character in other movies. At this point though, it is starting to get a bit old. If you're looking for a light-hearted, kinda funny movie though, this one won't really do you wrong. Just don't expect to be amazed.

My rating: 3/5

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