By: Emily Kellas
Rating: 6 out of 10
A modern day remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore hit, Arthur sloppily strolled back into theaters this weekend. Starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig and Jennifer Garner the film in theory sounds like the original, yet is very different in its execution. Now I won’t do a full compare and contrast between versions, but the review just wouldn’t make sense without mentioning the earlier, much beloved film.
Arthur follows a New York City billionaire whose affinity for alcohol, and frivolous spending lands him in a prearranged marriage with a crazy up and coming businesswoman (Garner). But that plan is complicated when he falls unexpectedly for a commoner (Gerwig), and in order for him to be with her he would have to give up all of his fortune.
Comedy wise the film delivered what was expected. Russell Brand reprises his role of the belligerent Englishmen which in truth does still deliver a few laughs with his wit and childish delusion. Many of the films biggest laughs came from a combination of Brand and the supporting characters of Helen Mirren as his nanny Hobson, and Luis Guzman as his butler Bitterman. Mirren is actually quite brilliant as a comedic actress and was a breath of fresh air coming from a woman known for her deeply dramatic roles. Another cast member who really seemed to shine was newcomer Greta Gerwig. Her breakout came with the Ben Stiller film Greenberg, and she continues her rise to fame as an adorable girl-next-door type in this film.
With that said, the film pales in comparison to the original, though Brand makes a perfect Arthur, and Mirren a marvelous Hobson. The film is just missing something. The camera work I found a little odd at times, and the musical choices through many in the crowded theater for a loop. The choice to forgo music in the opening credits and throughout various moments of the film gave it an awkward feeling, and made it seem unfinished.
Overall Arthur just didn’t stand up to the expectations. It just didn’t have the charm, and endearing arrogance that the original was imbedded with. Though the casting felt perfect, and the humor had been slightly updated, perhaps it was just a film that didn’t have to be remade. After all in a time of economic recession, how many films do we need showcasing the squandering of wealth? The answer… none.