Review: Arthur

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reviewer Dexter Kong
Rated: 12A (UK)
Release Date: April 22nd, 2011(UK)
DirectorJason Winer
Cast: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren ,Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig


Arthur is a remake of the of the 1981 film of the same title. It stars Russell Brand as Arthur, a drunk with a party lifestyle that would make Charlie Sheen weep, with an almost bottomless amount of money to fuel him. Fed up with his tarnishing of the family name he is given an ultimatum by his mother (Geraldine Jame), either marry Susan (Jennifer Garner) or lose his inheritance and all his wealth. Arthur finds money too irresistible and chooses the former, only to have a chance encounter with another woman who he falls head over heels in love with.

I question whether an Arthur remake was on the cards before the movie execs knew of Brand’s existence. “We need another movie where Russell Brand plays Russell Brand, but as the main character.. again”. The problem herein lies, that by trade Brand is not an actor but a comedian. Therefore, any moments of sincerity or range of emotions that fall outside the circle of comedy, fall flat. When not being garishly British he was OK, but has some way to go on his venture to become the new Dick Van Dyke.

Greta Gerwig as Naomi, the woman who Arthur falls for, seemed like an incredibly odd choice. Not because she was in any way a bad actress, but her character was incredibly over quirky and out of place. She was more a character suited to an indie rom com. There was essentially a one way chemistry between her and Brand, with the characters almost being the polar opposite in personalities, though they did have a shared bond. She wrote children’s books and Arthur acted like a child. But, I dare not dissect the Oedipus complex of the situation. Gerwig did have myself charmed and confused as to why someone of her disposition would fall for Arthur. Although she flitted between Bipolar emotions which had me questioning the motive money played. At least this can be inferred, if not intentionally the case, which I don’t think it was.

Helen Mirren as Hobson, Arthur’s caretaker was probably the best thing about this film. She was a nice grounded counterpart to Brand’s barrage and always collected as if talking to an irrational child, which essentially Arthur was. Her delivery of wry wit was spot on.

Essentially Arthur is a movie of people acting around Russell Brand and probably aimed as a “date movie”. One can be regaled with ideas of romanticism, ranging from minimalism to the over indulgent. Whilst your counterpart can be exasperated in a range of emotions from disdain to wonderment, of the hedonistic lifestyle of Arthur. Alternatively you can just bond over what made this movie kind of rubbish.