Critics Consensus: Arthur Is On The Rocks

Plus, Hanna is Certified Fresh, while Your Highness and Soul Surfer miss the mark.

This week at the movies, we've got an eccentric imbiber (Arthur, starring Russell Brand and Greta Gerwig); medieval mischief (Your Highness, starring James Franco and Natalie Portman); a teenage assassin (Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana); and a surfing survivor (Soul Surfer, starring AnnaSophia Robb and Dennis Quaid). What do the critics have to say?

Arthur

26%

I know it's crazy, but it's true: if you get caught between the moon and New York City, critics say you can probably do better than this remake of Arthur, which lacks the charm and wit of the 1981 original. Stepping into the shoes of the late Dudley Moore, Russell Brand stars as the whimsical, heavy-drinking hedonist whose irresponsible pursuit of pleasure threatens the good name of his staid family's foundation. Arthur is told that he's obligated to marry a woman he doesn't particularly like (Jennifer Garner) or lose his inheritance -- which is a problem, because he's just fallen in love with a fellow free spirit (Greta Gerwig). The pundits say that Arthur has some decent gags and a nice supporting turn from the always-stellar Helen Mirren, but it mostly feels like an uninspired cover version of the original, and its protagonist -- a frivolous rich guy with a drinking problem -- seems a little outdated in our current economic climate.

Your Highness

27%

Theoretically, Your Highness has a lot going for it: a couple of big stars (James Franco, Natalie Portman), an undeniably talented director (the onetime indie darling David Gordon Green), and a reasonably funny premise (medieval swashbuckling mixed with goofy, bawdy yuks). Unfortunately, the critics say the whole of Your Highness is hardly the sum of its parts; it's a crass, undisciplined lark that gives the impression that its makers decided to film every wacky idea they came up with after a long night hitting the bong. Franco and Danny McBride star as a pair of hapless princes who go on a journey to rescue Franco's kidnapped fiancée; soon, they're joined in their quest by a mysterious warrior woman (Portman), who helps them vanquish all sorts of evil monsters. The pundits say Your Highness is a seriously weird movie, and while its sophomoric smuttiness is good for some occasional chuckles, it gets old pretty quickly. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Franco's best-reviewed movies.)

Hanna

72%

Director Joe Wright made his name with a pair visually striking, widely-praised period romances (Pride and Prejudice and Atonement), so it's understandable that he'd want to branch out. The result is the action-packed, skillfully crafted Hanna, which critics say is a film so energetic and dreamy that its lapses are largely forgiven. Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character, a 16-year-old whose father (Eric Bana) raised her in seclusion and taught her to become a soldier and a spy. But the real world is a scary place, and soon Hanna is on the run from the CIA and Cate Blanchett, who may have knowledge of the dark secrets in Hanna's family's past. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Hanna is a sleekly stylish mix of fairytales and espionage thrillers, featuring a remarkable performance from Ronan and enough mystery and depth to help you ignore the fact that the plot is mostly ludicrous.

Soul Surfer

46%

Bethany Hamilton's life is so remarkable that no work of fiction could do it justice: as a teenager, she was attacked by a shark while surfing and lost an arm, but she persevered and now surfs professionally. Unfortunately, Hollywood has a way of turning even the most incredible stories into feel-good blandness, and critics say that's the problem with Soul Surfer, a well-crafted film that can't rise above its melodramatic trappings. AnnaSophia Robb stars as Hamilton, a deeply religious surfing prodigy whose life is changed forever after a near fatal shark attack. However, you can't keep a good girl down, and spurned on by loving parents and her faith in God, Hamilton works tirelessly to get back on the board. The pundits say Soul Surfer's action scenes are remarkable, but the film follows the inspirational movie playback too closely, and softpeddles both Hamilton's Christianity and her painful struggles in an attempt to broaden its appeal.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Comments

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

That's too bad about Arthur. Honestly, how can a studio not make that work? Oh, that's right, it's Hollywood... doing yet another lazy, unnecessary remake.

Apr 7 - 05:10 PM

John H.

John Hurson

A studio... Orion... did make it work... in 1981. Garnered 4 Academy Award nominations, won two, was hailed by critics & audiences alike. The mystery, I suppose, is why Hollywood can't make it work 30 years later, or really, why they're even trying.

Apr 8 - 05:51 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

I was referring strictly to the remake.

Apr 8 - 10:58 AM

filmmaniac123

Aakash Kumar

HANNA

Apr 7 - 05:12 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Is that like a sequel to Hannah Montana the TV show? :P

Apr 8 - 10:59 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Hanna's the only fresh movie? I'm not surprised. Did anyone else see that coming?

Apr 7 - 05:12 PM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

Saw it from a mile away.

Apr 7 - 05:15 PM

anDy

Andreas Babs

I dunno why, but something made me think that Your Highness would have gotten a 60 at least. Kind of disappointing. I'll have to see the film for myself though.
Apart from that, saw it from a mile away. Hanna looks pretty rad.

Apr 7 - 09:40 PM

waffleslayer

Eric Fowler

Agreed...I found the trailer fantastic, but from what it sounds like that's all that was good. Was looking forward to Arthur too...so really I was wrong about every movie coming out this weekend save Hanna.

Apr 8 - 07:08 AM

Mado at the movies

Madeleine LeBlancReiser

I see Arthur as a rental, something to be enjoyed (or not) on the small screen. Hanna should be seen on the large screen. The whole Hanna storyline reminds me of Harry Potter, The Phoenix and the Carpet etc. and all the other novels I used to read to my kids.

Apr 9 - 05:59 AM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

Saw it from a mile away.

Apr 7 - 05:15 PM

The Dude

Gene Arnold

I'll probably see Hanna and my friends want to see Your Highness, so that's what I'll see. Your Highness will probably be just another stoner film, that'll give me a few chuckles. I like Russell Brand, but 2 bad movies in the new year already? This guy needs something good now, because he's talented. Soul Surfer may be about a very serious story, but it's also from the director of the awful, Bratz: The Movie. So I kinda saw it coming that it would be a cheesy, corny, bad movie. Next weekend, nothing for me. It's playoff time! Go Bulls!!!

Apr 7 - 05:17 PM

CFM

'schak Attack

Yes my beloved Bulls will be the East's No. 1 seed, barring a major collapse over the last four games. Best damn team in the league. I predicted the Heat having about mid-50's in wins (right on the nose correct), but I did *not* predict these Bulls being so good this year with new Coach. Derrick Rose=MVP. Tom Thibodeau=Coach of the Year. Joakim Noah=Co-Defensive Player of the Year (with Superman). I really honestly think my Bulls are the favorites to win it all going into the playoffs. And it'll wash that Packers bad taste out of my mouth too.

Apr 8 - 08:50 AM

Odd E.

Odd Even

LAKERS!!!

Apr 8 - 10:57 AM

The Dude

Gene Arnold

@Odd E Screw the Lakers, I hate them with a passion. They always are winning and Kobe thinks he's the greatest player ever. He is good, I'll give him that. But in the years of great players coming and going (Michael Jordan being the best) Kobe is not one of them. LeBorn James, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, and Derrick Rose are not only good players, but better role models. Kobe is a douchebag, who not only raped a chick, but bought himself out of it.

Apr 8 - 03:58 PM

The Dude

Gene Arnold

Hell yeah man, Bulls are going to do great during the playoffs. Derrick Rose is the guaranteed MVP, Joakim Noah will get the co-defensive player of the year. Mark my words, Noah will become another Dennis Rodman, only scoring more points. Tom Thibodeau is the man. He turned this mediocre team to the best team in the whole friggin' league. He deserves the Coach of the year award, because he is the coach of the year. And after winning the rest of the games they have left, Thibodeau will have the record for the most wins for the youngest coach ever!

After a long thought about it, I'm happy for the Packers but next year, it'll be the Bears year!

Apr 8 - 03:50 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I was hoping Your Highness was going to be a good dumb movie; probably going to wait and rent it now.

Arthur looked bland to begin with, and the PG-13 rating did not add any appeal, either. The only things I have found him to be funny in were Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which both benefited from the hard-R perforances from him.

Nice to see Hanna get good reviews, might catch it at a matinee sometime.

I saw Source Code today, and thought it was amazing. Definitely the best film so far this year, and I hope it holds up great at the box-office this weekend.

Apr 7 - 05:19 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Hanna this week, been wanting to see it since the trailer came out. Catch up on Win Win and Jane Eyre, and Source Code. Too bad about Arthur, trailer made me laugh a few times, but perhaps it showcased the best parts, I'll consider a 3 dollar matinee for that one. Hoping Rio really is as good as the early reviews indicate, been waiting to see that for a while.

Apr 7 - 05:22 PM

will s.

will stamp

where do you live that you get 3 dollar matinees?

Apr 8 - 04:52 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

I live in L.A. :) Believe it or not, there are a handful of theatres out here that don't charge astronomical prices. They're also the only ones that aren't capable of showing 3-D this day in age, which can be a good thing actually.

Apr 9 - 12:52 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

I wanna know, too.

Apr 8 - 09:13 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

L.A. - refer to my above reply to will s. :)

Apr 9 - 12:54 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

I live 8 hours away in Sacramento so next time I'm down there I'll check out a movie or two.

Apr 9 - 03:53 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

3 Seconds into the PREVIEW I could SEE that ARTHUR the remake IS GARBAGE . . . /You know, before a movie is made cast and crew can see in the DAILY RUSHES if a film is bad or good.

There is no excuse for a BAD MOVIE these days (of 2011).

Why can't every director of mainstream film behave like JJ ABRHAMS???

JJ ABRAMS films every scene in the screenplay from a bunch of different angles . . . and then TOTALLY RE-CREATES the film in the editing room.

JJ will take 5 seconds of a shot he used in the first scene of the screenplay and then inter-cut that 5-second moment with a two-second moment from a scene shot for the middle of the film and you'll have a seven-second scene that looks like a TOTALLY NEW SCENE.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a GENIUS of a filmmaker in our GENERATION . . . his name: JJ ABRAMS!!!!!!!

don't tell JJ that I said he's a genius because we want him to remain true to who he is

But the DVD-COMMENTARY for STAR TREK is FILM SCHOOL 101.7 for ALL FILMMAKERS.

EDITING is about MATCHING bits of film to make an entirely BETTER FILM!!!!!!

I FELL IN LOVE WITH JJ ABRAMS methodology of filmmaking . . .

(yes I CRAVE more esoteric films and a more esoteric style of filmmaking than what JJ is doing, but JJ taught me a lot about editing and how a director is supposed to make his actors feel RIGHT AT HOME!!!!! the better an actor feels, the better the performance, the better the performance, and the better the director, THE BETTER THE FILM ALL-TOGETHER!!!!!)

THANK FOR JJ ABRAMS and "that AUDIO-COMMENTARY" on STAR TREK!!!!! a MUST for FILMMAKERS!!!!!

again, there should never be a bad film . . . of course films can turn-out bad intentionally just because of some weird unfortunate conflagration of events . . . BUT . . . in general if a film looks like or appears to be as bad as this week's release of ARTHUR the film should not be released, period!!!!!

Apr 7 - 06:07 PM

DBrock

David E-Brock

And yet M:I3 was still such a crap movie...

Apr 7 - 11:56 PM

CFM

'schak Attack

Disagree. I liked MI3.

Apr 8 - 08:30 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

You MAKE!! some GOOD!! points, BUT!!! please STOP!! talking LIKE!! this, ITS!! really ANNOYING!!.

Apr 8 - 07:23 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

Too FUNNY.

Apr 8 - 08:31 AM

Odd E.

Odd Even

This is how he always posts. You are NEVER going to change him. Trust me. Many have an all have failed.

Apr 8 - 11:04 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

. . . and I love how JJ ABRAMS uses REAL-LIFE sets as often as possible rather than "succumbing" to CGI . . .
JJ ABRAMS is THE MAN!!!!!!

Anyone who makes a film as BAD as ARTHUR (the remake) is PROVING itself to be should . . . should . . . be forced to study film making with JJ ABRAMS!!!!!!

LISTEN to "That Commentary" on JJ Abrams' STAR TREK . . . a true Mainstream Film director at work!!!!!!

Apr 7 - 06:15 PM

Odd E.

Odd Even

To bad he couldn't make Undercovers interesting

Apr 8 - 11:03 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

JJ AMBRAMS . . . MAINSTREAM GENIUS FILMMAKER AT WORK!!!!

Apr 7 - 06:17 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Most likely yes. His movies are great. Can't wait for Super 8. :)

Apr 7 - 10:40 PM

Odd E.

Odd Even

To bad he couldn't make Undercovers interesting

Apr 8 - 11:03 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

We get it. You like JJ Abrams

Apr 8 - 05:38 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

just keep repeating...HE'S ONLY HUMAN HE'S ONLY HUMAN HE'S ONLY HUMAN LOL

Apr 10 - 06:26 AM

ap sirius

karl anderson

Any one else here over Russel Brand yet...the problem with acting like a cartoon character is it grates on people very quickly....he had his 15 minutes ...enough already....his dumb fake grinning face just gets my hemoroids to flare up......

Apr 10 - 06:35 AM

ap sirius

karl anderson

just keep repeating HE IS ONLY HMAN HE IS ONLY HUMAN HE IS ONLY HUMAN

Apr 10 - 06:37 AM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

A Russell Brand movie that sucks. How shocking.

Apr 7 - 06:34 PM

Don't Tase Me Bro

Don't Tase Me Bro

Dear Russell Brand,

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Now go home and be a guest on some BBC quiz-coms.

Apr 8 - 02:36 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Those quiz coms were awesome.

Apr 8 - 04:25 PM

tgibfo

Matt Ritchey

I saw an advanced screening of ARTHUR and I gotta say I'm surprised it's in the 20s. Shocked, really. I mean, it wasn't great but it wasn't THAT bad. They must have done a SERIOUS re-edit because it was a pretty funny movie - Brand was great, Mirren was great and the only one who ruined the film was Greta Girwig who, shockingly, is getting the most praise. Don't be surprised if this starts going up in TM score. As high as 56%

Don't get me wrong - it's nowhere NEAR as good as the original, but it's a pretty cute stand-alone, albeit with some big problems.

Apr 7 - 06:40 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

I'm surprised Your Highness is in the 20's. Thought it might at least get in the 40's. I have no innterest in Hanna. Looks like a rental to me. I will predict Your highness will win the weakend with around 26 million, though Hop could reapeat if it holds well enough. Arthur should make around 17 million. Hanna and soul surfur will probally be in the low teens.

Apr 7 - 06:46 PM

Premo Beat

John Noto

Almost 30 mil for a poorly reviewed R-rated comedy? Not likely.. Hop takes #1 again.

Apr 8 - 02:53 PM

What's Hot On RT

Total Recall
Total Recall

Ethan Hawke's 10 Best Movies

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games

New Mockingjay teaser trailer

24 Frames
24 Frames

Pictures of great movie apes

Gone Girl Trailer
Gone Girl Trailer

New film by David Fincher

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile