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"Arthur" - (2011)
Reviewer:
Daniel Ruwe
Studio: Warner Brothers
Genre:
Comedy
Release Date:
7/15/11
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

The original 1981 Arthur was a pretty good movie but I donít think anyone thought it was one that really needed a remake. It remains one of Dudley Mooreís most well-known performances, which gave Russell Brand a lot to live up to. Brand is funny, but heís not in Mooreís league, and no one would pick him as the actor most likely to give a performance good enough to make people forget Mooreís. ***

He doesnít, though he does play the alcoholic, utterly unambitious Arthur Bach with his typical goofy charm. Arthur is a Wodehousian playboy with no aspirations in life other than fun. When youíre a movie billionaire, fun is defined as having a magnetized floating bed, renting out Grand Central Station, and driving a Batmobile. Heís also fallen for a struggling author of childrenís books named Naomi (Greta Gerwig). ***

The Batmobile gets Arthur in trouble so his mother played by (Hellen Miren) decides he has to marry the sensible Susan played by (Jennifer Garner) to keep the family fortune safe. His 950 million dollar fortune is on the line (if you happened to be wondering about the inflation rate for movies fortunes in the past thirty years, the amount in 1981 was 750 million dollars), as his mother has vowed to cut him off unless he marries Susan. ***

Since this is a feel-good comedy, Arthur canít just break up with Naomi, marry Susan, and keep the money. He tries to find some business opportunities to break free of his financial dependence on his mother. This being a Russell Brand character, they all fail. I wonít spoil the ending for you, leaving you on your own as you try to guess whether Arthur deserts Naomi to marry money. His decision causes the last quarter of the movie grind to an unfunny and boring halt. ***

Russell Brand is always at least kind of funny in even his weakest movies, and really funny in his best roles. This is more a middling Brand role. Brand hits all the right notes but there isnít any development behind his character, leaving his performance to ring hollow. ***

In the 1981 version, Sir John Gielgud won a Best Supporting Oscar for his performance as Arthurís Jeeves-like valet Hobson. Hobson is now Arthurís old nanny, which is good in that it prevents comparisons to Gielgudís remarkable performance, but bad in that it means the movie loses any chance at recapturing one of the chief pleasures of the original. ***

That really brings up one of the biggest problems with the remake. It has a steady scriptóitís far from spectacular, but there are enough laughs to bring in an audience. The best thing about the original was its casting, and director Jason Winer doesnít take any risks that might make this movie memorable. Arthur has its moments, but it is ultimately a disappointing and deeply flawed film. ***

Image/Sound ***

Warner Home Video has given the film an adequate 1080p/AVC-coded transfer. This isnít up to the high standard of most of their releases, though the casual viewer will probably be more than happy. The audio gives more weight to dialogue and music than to atmosphere and other low-end noises. The casual viewer wonít find much wrong with how the movie looks and sounds but it isnít up to Warner Home Videoís typical standards.

Special Features:

There isnít much here. There is an eleven behind the scenes featurette that doesnít tell much about the creative process, some deleted scenes that should have stayed deleted, and a one minute gag reel.

Final Words:

There really isnít any reason to buy this movie unless youíre a passionate Russell Brand fan. It doesnít live up to the original or anything else and can be safely skipped

 

 
 
 
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