A Drunken Attempt
Director: Jason Winer
Writer: Peter Baynham, Steve Gordon
Stars: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Gardner, Luiz Guzman, Greta Gerwig, Nck Nolte
RANT: Here is the second movie I took in yesterday. Managed to write the review for Scre4m at Starbucks while waiting to meet up with my friend. After Arthur, we drove back out to the Queens/Long Island border to take in a rock band in the basement of a church. For a $15 donation, the Fabulous Unknowns were pretty good.
SYNOPSIS: A drunken playboy's public misadventures start to affects the image of his mother's foundation, Bach Worldwide. Arthur is given an ultimatum to marry a woman he does not love or lose his near-one billion dollar inheritance.
Who is Arthur? What is Arthur? Should Arthur have been remade? These are the questions one must delve into after watching Jason Winer's direction of the 1981 Dudley Moore classic. Winer, a veteran of television directing with Modern Family and Samantha Who? under his belt, takes a big step and a bigger risk moving into the often disappointing arena of movie reboots. Based on the Steve Gordon stories of the original Arthur and Arthur 2 On The Rocks, Peter Baynham creates a screenplay for Winer that brings the Arthur character into the 21st century.
Taking the original concept for the Dudley Moorefilm, the new Arthur is updated to be more sympathetic, if not every bit the alcoholic. The Russell Brand Arthur spends his money on material things, never companionship. When, that's not entirely true. He does get lots of friends over when he's spending money on them or for them, but he never "pays" for companionship like the Dudley Moore Arthur did.
Instead of John Gielgud's Hobson, we are treated with Helen Mirren in the role of Arthur's nanny. Both the role of the quick-witted butler and the role of the ever diligent nanny bring a little heart to the film. In fact, Helen Mirren, is the heart of the movie. She is gracious and stern - watchful like a hawk, but mindful of when to look away. Russell Brand, although somewhat more likeable as Arthur, loses something. He is intelligent, but with no regard of the limits of what his money can fix. He adores the public and his fellow man, but gives in to the ultimatum of a loveless marriage in order to keep his money. And when he falls for unlicensed Grand Central Terminal tour guide Naomi (Greta Gerwig), he would rather keep her a secret than commit to her entirely. It doesn't really matter, though. The only real tenderness comes between Hobson and Arthur. How Arthur feels about the gold digger Susan (Jennifer Gardner) is how the audience feels about the chemistry of Arthur and Naomi.
Arthur has some high points an funny bits. Toward the end of the film, there is a group of story time children at the New York Public Library who poke holes in Arthur's story that he tries to tell Naomi. If you loved the original, I would leave the 2011 Arthur remake on the top shelf, even if it isn't top shelf material.
WORTH: DVD or Netflix