Movie Review: Arthur

Movie Review: Arthur


PG-13 for alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language
and some drug references.
Genre: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Irresponsible charmer Arthur Bach has always relied on two things to get by – his limitless fortune and the good sense of his lifelong nanny, Hobson to keep him out of trouble.

But all that could change in the blink of an eye!

Arthur is facing 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 – the only woman he has ever loved. With inspiration from Naomi and some unconventional help from Hobson, Arthur decides to take the most expensive risk of his life and finally learn what it means to become a man.

A Re-Imagining of a Classic Movie

Whenever I hear the word re-imagining it worries me. Especially when it’s connected with such a classic movie. Not only is this a re-imagining of the classic 1981 romantic comedy starring Dudley Moore, it appears Russell Brand is trying to re-imagine his entire image as he stars in this remake of Arthur. Hot on the heels of his number one box office animated hit Hop from last weekend, we find the usually brash Brand showing up as the lead role in Arthur this weekend.

Holding true to the word re-imagining this version of Arthur is probably best described as loosely based on the original 1981 movie. Russell Brand is no Dudley Moore, however, it’s also worth noting we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of this movie. We went into Arthur with middle-of-the-road expectations at best. We knew it wouldn’t be a total loss simply because Helen Mirren also stars in the movie as Arthur’s Nanny, Hobson. If anything we went into this version of Arthur saying the only thing that could pull this movie out of the “avoid the show” category would be the fact that Mirren is an incredible actress.

Helen Mirren does not disappoint!

Russell Brand really looks like a Monty Python throwback, but with a more rude and crude British comedy edge to him. As a result, Helen Mirren is the perfect foil to off-set Brand’s somewhat clumsy performance and at times over-acting style. While British comedy has always been edgy, in recent years its gone from edgy to irreverent. Brand falls into the later category. However, it does appear as though he’s trying to make a change. Or at least his handlers and others in Hollywood are attempting to reign him in so they can cash in on Brand’s brand.

Bad Start Turns Into Substance

While we understand the bad start to Arthur is meant to set the tone for the movie and main character, the first 10 to 15 minutes of this movie falls firmly into the category of rude and crude. If anything, the first 15 minutes of the movie reveal the true colors of Brand. However, once we get beyond the rude and crude, a plot and storyline does actually begin to take shape.

The turning point in the movie revolves around the entrance of Helen Mirren and her character Hobson.

From the moment you see Mirren’s character take to the screen, Arthur suddenly takes a turn toward the good. I have to admit, during the opening scenes I was sure we were in for an “avoid the show” movie. The character of  Arthur is so over the top it becomes obvious that the times certainly have changed from the 1981 original to now. But, somehow Mirren’s character brings a nobility to the movie turning this British comedy into a good Hollywood type comedy.

The opening comedy scenes going for the rude and crude actually reveals the fact that for the most part Brand does not like to work for his humor. However, as already mentioned, Mirren provides the perfect foil for Brand and suddenly we discover some wonderful “laugh out loud” moments in Arthur. Aside from the humor, we were also pleasantly surprised that the flick also takes a turn toward what’s important in life and change. Without spoiling the movie, lets just say if you stay alert through the movie you will find some great subtle jokes and a good message about what’s important in life too.

Last, but certainly not least, aside from the great performance of Helen Mirren, it’s also worth noting a couple other stars appearing in Arthur. While their parts aren’t huge, Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte both show up in this movie too. Jennifer Garner puts in her usual screen capturing performance every time her character shows up. As for Nolte, he is not aging well and his hard living is certainly showing its toll on him. However, I must admit it’s just nice seeing Nolte on the big screen.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the caliber of this re-imagining of  Arthur. While Russell Brand’s form of humor usually has much to be desired, when he’s surrounded by a quality cast, it appears he can rise to the occasion and put in a good performance. As for rating, with a PG-13 rating we’re calling Arthur cautionary family-friendly. This is not your Dudley Moore movie flashback and the opening scenes simply push this movie into the cautionary category.

Cautiously enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.