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Posted on 5/25/11 05:33 AM
Arthur remake shows audiences a silly and heart-warming character
The movie that I wasn't expecting much from this year was the remake of the classic 1981 comedy Arthur. I could just see from the film's trailers that this remake would deliver cheesy and flat gags and just barely cover the main aspects of the movie like the relationship between Arthur and his nanny Hobson and his obsessive need for alcohol. I hate to admit though, I was pleasantly surprised. Even though, it doesn't compare to the original; Arthur starring Russell Brand turns out to be humorous and heart-warming comedy that can be enjoyed during an agreeable matinee.
The movie revolves around the world of happy-go-lucky millionaire playboy Arthur Bach played by Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek). Arthur... to sum him up. He's basically a man-child. All he wants to do his party, party, party and drink, drink, drink and have some fun when he has nothing better to do. After, a couple of inebriated shenanigans in the Big Apple, his mother tells that she can't take his bulls#*t anymore and threatens to cut him off from his supplied fortune. In order to not lose everything, Arthur unwillingly agrees to marry a successful business woman named Susan Johnson played by Jennifer Gardner (Alias) who, if married into his family, will regain the Bach's economic respect from their investors because of you know whose high jinxes . While Arthur is grieving about his horrific decision, he runs into this cute aspiring children's book author named Naomi played by Greta Gerwig (No Strings Attached). Arthur becomes completely enamored with her and respects her free-spiritedness and rebelliousness. Now, it seems that Arthur is in a bit of a pickle and must decide whether or not to marry a woman who he has nothing in common, but he gets to keep his vast fortune or, spend the rest of his life penniless with a woman who really understands him.
People know Russell Brand for his Adam Sandlerish performances in his films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. But like Sandler in The Wedding Singer, Brand is very toned downed quite a bit here and it's not exactly a bad thing; it's actually a great thing because us the audience are able to connect to him on a emotional level and at the end we care about him and where he'll end up. The big thing that the film's director Jason Winer (Modern Family) fleshes out is Arthur being a heavy drinker like the original. Arthur realizes throughout the course of the film that his drinking is pushing the ones he loves away from him. He begins to battle his rebellious side as he tries to make amends with his addiction as he goes through failed attempts to contribute in AA meetings and treats all it like a big joke.
I was really looking forward to the rendition of Arthur and Hobson played by Helen Mirren (The Queen) and their contrasting relationship of Hobson taking care of Arthur and Arthur doing his thing and acting like a drunken idiot! The best scenes in the movie are with Arthur and Hobson and just the great chemistry that Brand and Mirren create from the silly dialogue. Some might say that Hobson is a bit cold toward Arthur, but honestly, she pretty much has to in order to make some kind of dent in his brain that will make him act responsible for once. When all of this tension fades in certain moments, Hobson really does express her true motherly compassion for him and that she would do anything for him.
Since Arthur is a millionaire, he has to buy all kinds of movie memorabilia like the Batmobile, the time-traveling Delorian from Back to the Future, and the mystery van from Scooby Doo. His penthouse suite is great to look at as he has a magnetic bed that hovers above the bed, a huge home theatre that shows Looney Tunes 24/7! It was also funny to just hear all of the lavish things he bought and a couple weeks later he gets bored with like a pet Giraffe that he fed up with because it wouldn't wear the clothes Arthur wanted him to wear, go figure. The movie's set designer did an incredible job in making Arthur's room just too cool!
Even though, I'm praising this film for being cute and touching; there are a decent amount of flaws that contribute to the film being annoying sometimes. Brand's acting did get on my nerves quite a few times and his squeaky accent did sound like he was sucking on helium off stage. Brand also couldn't help to rush through his dialogue like at the speed of sound, so it tore away from the story's progression. The performance that I thought wasn't really necessary was Nick Nolte (Hotel Rwanda) and his portrayal of Susan's dangerous and crazy father. I really thought his dialogue was terrible and with his gruff voice I could barely make out what he was saying half the time.
This film isn't perfect, but it does give audience something they wouldn't expect... a funny and likeable character who reinvents himself to save him and the ones he cares for from an inevitable car wreck of compulsion. This film delivers the themes of the original Arthur, that the fans will want to see maybe even done better, like his alcohol addiction and the funny back and forth between Arthur and Hobson. I wasn't exactly blown away in hilarity with Arthur, but I was pleasantly surprised with it and admittedly I would recommend this film to friend of mine. I'd just ask them not to pay full price to see it, that's all. Three out of four popcorn bags for Arthur.