Movie Review: Arthur (2011)


Sometimes hitting the multiplex just isn’t in the cards. That’s when cable, the web and streaming step in to provide an instant movie fix. But how to separate the wheat from the chaff? I’m happy to help, every week I’ll pick a flick and see if it’s worth your time. This week I watch “Arthur” (2011)

Characters and Crew Of Arthur (2011)

Main Cast:

  • Russell Brand as Arthur Bach
  • Helen Mirren as Hobson
  • Greta Gerwig as Naomi
  • Nick Nolte as Burt Johnson


  • Director: Jason Winer
  • Writers: Peter Baynham, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
  • Producers: John Davis, Glen Basner, Bruce Berman


The Story: Okay, so there’s this crazy-rich wealthy dude who hasn’t grown up even though he’s in his 30’s. He’s got a hella drinking problem that causes his family no end of concern. Solution? Marry the guy off to a straightlaced gal, and tell him if he doesn’t go for it he’s cut off. But then he meets the fantastic girl…and it sure ain’t the one mummy picked. Sound familiar? Of course it is; this is the remake of the super-popular 1981 romantic comedy/drunk-dudes-are-loveable film of the same name. Swap English dude Dudley Moore with English dude Russell Brand…and you have a surprisingly well-done movie that keeps the drunken lout just as loveable as when we first met him all those years ago, but moves him into the 21st Century.

The Good: This isn’t the role Russell Brand was meant to play — that’d be Aldous Snow from Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall — but damn if he doesn’t make a fine drunken rich bum. He’s got the childlike quality of Moore’s drunken rich bum, but a bit more charisma and a certain je ne sai slacker that’s perfect for today’s modern lazy-ass 30-something. Helen Mirren doesn’t slide into Sir John Gielgud’s shoes as much as she re-defines the character of Arthur’s nanny/chaperone/conscience and completely owns it. Jason Winer’s ability to take all-out-crazy scenes and make them play like just another day is obviously a skill he honed on Modern Family, and one that can’t be overemphasized. This film could have easily slipped into needless slapstick, but even at it’s craziest the situations ring true. Bonus points for the touching shout-out to Steve Gordon, the director of the original Arthur, who died of a heart attack at age 44. This Arthur’s father shares a similar fate.

Arthur Trailer

The Bad: As much as I wanted to love Jennifer Gardner’s whackjob golddigger Susan, it just doesn’t play true. But Gardner gets mucho bonus points for going for it with gusto, and for so obviously enjoying herself in the role. (You haven’t lived ‘til you’ve seen her meow like a kitty.) I couldn’t help but agree with Susan on one topic; how in the world could a man that is poised to take the reins of a multi-national business not have even the slightest idea of how to handle himself in the business world? It plays for laughs, sure, but when Arthur tries to work and fails ever so miserably, it’s pushed a little too far. Speaking of miserable, the remake of “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” feels insipid and dull now. It just doesn’t fit the goofy, manic pace of this film. Luckily it only plays at the end credits.

The Everything Else: This go-round tones down the drinking a bit, instead of Arthur staggering around and passing out in churches, we have him throwing rowdy parties where he picks up all sorts of women (and according to Hobson, all sorts of diseases if he doesn’t hurry up and wash his winky). To keep things a bit more realistic, our modern-day Arthur does dabble with recreational drugs, but not onscreen. But all the scenes of his opulent wealth, and the ways in which he uses it, have a lovely, childlike grandeur about them, and that keeps our new Arthur and his lady love fresh, fun and fabulous in this new century.

Read Arthur 2011 Review on Gomovies

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