Who says you don’t need another story about a drunk rich dude in the 21st century?
Irresponsible charmer Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) has always relied on two things to get by: his limitless fortune and the good sense of lifelong nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) to keep him out of trouble. Now he faces his biggest challenge – choosing between an arranged marriage that will ensure his lavish lifestyle or an uncertain future with the one thing money can’t buy, Naomi (Greta Gerwig), the only woman he has ever loved.
Having already seen the original and knowing that this flick was just another unnecessary remake used to boost up somebody else’s career, I can’t say that I was looking forward to this but more as curious. I was curious to see whether or not how bad this actually was and if, just if, it would make me hate everyone involved. Well, it didn’t really do either.
This film is definitely a little bit different from the original, in the way its story is shown. The original shows this drunken billionaire as a sad and messed up dude, but here, Arthur is shown as a charming and happy man-child which is the right approach I think this film took. The script has its fair share of problems in many departments but the comedy was pretty funny and there were a couple of zingers here and there that actually had me chuckling, which is something I was definitely not expecting in the least bit. About 1 in every 10 joke actually hits it mark, but that’s still better than 0 so I can’t say that I didn’t at least laugh a couple of times here.
The problem that this film hits is that it just feels too held-back from everything it could have possibly explored. What I mean by that is since the film is rated PG-13, you never get any real hard raunchy jokes and you don’t get anywhere near the close amount of debauchery as you got with the original. You see his drinking problem come up 2 times, you hear about how he apparently he has sex with all of these chicks even though you rarely see them, and we never get to see him go to any darker places than he was already in. The whole rating this film was given made it enough to appeal to just about everyone, but I still feel like they held-back a little bit too much.
Let me also not forget to mention that the problem with this flick lies within the fact that it starts to get very cheesy and predictable by the end, which lead me to eye-roll a couple of times. I mean I knew where this film was obviously going right from the start but sooner and sooner down the road with this flick, I realized that the laughs weren’t really here and even though the film did display a nice little amount of heart and emotion for its story, a lot of it just didn’t feel right and more of just cliche.
Your enjoyment of this film will probably be based on how much you actually enjoy watching Russell Brand for a whole 109 minutes. I like Brand and I think he’s always funny and this is no exception here. He spits-out jokes with rapid fire, almost never stopping, and just brings that great charm we all know and love him for. Brand seems like a different Arthur as opposed to Dudley Moore’s version and still is able to handle the expectations of this role very well. The problem that he runs into is that when it comes to him actually bringing some emotional and heart-gripping drama to the flick, he can’t really do it all that well. Brand comes off as more of a really soft dude whenever he tries to soften up his mood and it just does not feel right considering this guy the whole film is making references to Chinese little girls, Batman, and even the French in such a mean-spirited way.
As with the original, this one here really tried its hardest to have us relate to and care about Arthur, when he just seemed like too much of a dick to care about in the first place. I mean this guy is filthy rich, doesn’t have work a day in his life, and is about to marry Ben Affleck’s smoking-hot wife, and he’s complaining about how he’s not able to be with the one he truly loves. Come on, stop being a little bitch and just soak it up, or how about you actually get a job and stop being a little brat.
The supporting cast is also a lot of fun as well and damn near saves this flick. Helen Mirren is great as Hobson, and shows that she can be totally hilarious without barely ever cracking a smile. She’s sarcastic, realistic, but also very mean which is where I found most of the time she was on-screen to be some of the best moments. It was also really funny watching her try her hardest not to actually laugh at Brand doing all of his goofy stuff. Greta Gerwig gets her first main-stream role here as Naomi, and she’s very good but she seems too much of a type like that quirky, indie girl we see so much now of. Jennifer Garner is also fun to watch in this very unlikable role as Susan and she’s just totally crazy in a type of role we barely ever see her in ever.
Consensus: Arthur is a remake that is predictable, unnecessary in the first place, and doesn’t really do anything new here at all, but the cast makes this film enjoyable and funny enough to at least have a little fun for the time being. Still, who the hell needed an Arthur remake?!?