by Rick Grant
Forget the 1980 movie by the same name starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. Although this film is a remake, it has enough modern elements to give a fresh perspective on this story. British comic, Russell Brand deftly plays Arthur and instead of a male butler, Helen Mirren plays his nanny, Hobson.
In a stand-out performance, Greta Gerwig portrays Arthur’s real love interest, Naomi, who charms the audience as well as Arthur. Jennifer Gardner portrays Susan, the cold, calous, gold-digger that Arthur’s mother has arranged for Arthur to marry.
The premise seems dated since persistent drunkenness is not socially acceptable in today’s world. Arthur is a spoiled rich kid who dwells in a man’s body. His every need is catered to by his nanny Hobson. Like Brand in real life, Arthur is a womanizing sex addict with a large inheritance to fall back on.
However, his recent drunken escapades have embarrassed his mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James) who gives him an ultimatum: Either shape up or lose his inheritance. Furthermore he must marry Susan, who Arthur can’t stand.
Enter Naomi, who conducts non-sanctioned museum tours to make money.
Brand tempers Arthur’s constant drunken state with moments of sobriety to bring out his character, which makes his characterization at least more palatable. But let’s face it: the story is built around a raving drunk which gets old very quickly. It’s like having a guest who arrives drunk and refuses to leave.
Helen Mirren shines as Hobson, who has put up with Arthur’s childish behavior and alcoholism for way too long.
Brand does what he can to be funny, and, for the most part, he succeeds in getting laughs at far too few intervals. However, Greta Gerwig saves the movie from ruin with her magnetic characterization. She imparts Naomi with irresistibly positive nuances that keep the tone of the film from losing its comedic groove.
Director Jason Winer uses a non-obtrusive shooting style that compliments the characters. However, Hollywood is taking the easy way out by recycling old scripts instead of hiring talented writers to write new material. It seems the new mantra in La La Land is to recycle and make sequels until hell freezes over or people stop going to the movies.
Arthur Movie Review
by Rick Grant