The original Arthur from 1981 was a pleasant and often amusing comedy about a boozy billionaire looking for love and being forced to grow up, nicely played by Dudley Moore.
This remake is not unpleasant, but as with most remakes, it doesn’t hold up well in comparison. This is dumber and sillier than the original.
Russell Brand plays our man/child hero and while he has a certain amount of charm, sometimes it seems like he just got off the last train from Stupidville. His mother, who controls the pursestrings, wants him to sober up, straighten up and get married.
But for Brand’s character life is all about drinking, endless carousing with prostitutes and giving away money. And he doesn’t like the woman (Jennifer Garner, in a very unsympathetic role) mother wants him to marry. Of course, he’s also just met a girl he does want to marry; the lovely Greta Gerwig, who plays a tour guide that wants to write childrens’ books. She’s the best thing in the movie.
Arthur’s “nanny” or minder is played by Helen Mirren, the only real friend he’s got. She fills in for Sir John Gielgud who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Moore’s long-suffering butler in the original. While she certainly has the acting chops of Gielgud, the script fails to give her much to do. One hopes Mirren got paid a lot of money to go slumming in this.
As with most remakes, try to find the original; it’s much better.
Rating: two deer out of five
Next Week on Video
The Canadian-made Casino Jack with Kevin Spacey as a Washington lobbyist.
Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.