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Movie Reviews




Released: 8th April 2011

Director:Jason Winer

Stars: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren

Certificate: 12

Reviewer: Luke Walkley

Russell Brands latest Hollywood adventure sees him in a role previously played by Dudley Moore in the 1981 film of the same name.

Brand plays drunken Billionaire Arthur Bach, who has happily lived off his family’s wealth for his whole life- whilst he is generous and kind-hearted; he certainly leads a lavish lifestyle. Numerous women and an alcohol-fuelled tendency to get himself into trouble with the law, his mother and most importantly investors in the business to which he, is the sole heir.

Sensing this problem his Mother issues him an ultimatum that will save her business- Either marry strong minded Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner) so she can continue the Bach-legacy or be entirely cut off from his family’s wealth. Unable to contemplate a life of ‘poverty’ Arthur begrudgingly agrees to the sham marriage. All is normal again, until Arthur finds what he thinks may be the love of his life in Naomi (Greta Gerwig) an aspiring children’s author.

So, take a traditional love story and add millions of pounds worth of movie cars, gadgets and Helen Mirren as Arthurs ‘Nanny’ Hobson, the result is this movie. Summed up in a sentence that is what Arthur consists of. Brands casting brings a relatively loveable side to the character who is a self-confessed alcoholic. From the offset of the film we see that the character of Arthur is meant to be liked, despite his partying attitude. He shows moments of generosity which take the emphasis away from his constant squandering of his money on unconventional items such as a giant magnetic bed and a chauffeur driven DeLorean and Batmobile.

The film struggles to get going within the first 15 minutes, really just re-emphasising the whole ‘Billionaire Playboy’ factor for the majority of the opening. We get a more intimate look at Arthur’s relationship with Hobson later on, allowing us to see how his father took care of him and when he died; his mother relied on Hobson to take care of Arthur in a more maternal position.

The contrast of the British cast and the American setting works well for the majority of the film, perhaps it would be more appealing if it hadn’t already been done in Get Him To The Greek. Brand has now played a British alcoholic Rock star and now a British alcoholic billionaire in his last two films and at risk of being typecast he has attempted a more loveable role in Arthur. It pays off on some levels, though at times the mixture of Americanized comedy and British personalities, just fails to hit the mark-some jokes just can’t avoid falling flat.

Brand plays his usual comedy role quite well, although it is essentially just him being himself. He tends to fall down during the more sensitive moments of the movie. Mirren’s performance as Hobson is clever, clean cut and most importantly for a comedy, genuinely funny.  Her inclusion really was the defining factor of the film, without her the storyline underneath the gold-coated exterior would be lost in the gadgets and gizmos Arthur fills his life with. Garner plays crazed wife-to-be Susan with the insanity that was needed, while Gerwig is also brilliantly cast as Naomi-offering the sweet retreat from Arthur’s crazed lifestyle.

The film is not without its great moments- a fantastic scene set in Grand Central Station, where he takes Naomi on their first date, beautifully portrays Arthurs good intentions. This is perhaps the best example of the films loving undertones, though it does not shine through as much as the creators would have liked.

In its own right, Arthur is a decent enough comedy. In comparison to the original it probably falls short, but as a modern reboot it delivers what it set out to- Laughs and a little bit of love.

Offering a little something for nearly everyone, Arthur is a decent comedy and certainly won’t be the worst film you see this year.

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