I had a free ticket at Hollywood Blvd to see a non-new release film on a weekday. There’s my motivation to see the Arthur remake!
As expected, this wasn’t an improvement over the Dudley Moore version. But it had its merits, mainly in some imaginative jokes in how Arthur wastes his parent's fortune. In fact that was pretty much the only thing I felt it did better than the original, it was glorious in its portrayal of frivolous wealth. And that’s the aspect that garnered the most amount of thought in the writing process I imagine, as the plot is essentially the same as the original.
I figure there’s no point in arguing about whether Russell Brand is good or bad. Seems like he’s been around long enough now to where people have formed their own love him or hate him opinions about the guy. I happen to like him, and find him funny in his movie roles (but I do find him annoying in interviews). I don’t know; despite his loud, arrogant personality, I also see something sincere in his attitude as well. Kind of like he gets what he’s supposed to do with his career, but he’s just not perfect in executing it.
The rest of the cast was good, some even great. Helen Mirren, Nick Nolte and Luis Guzman were all entertaining in supporting roles. I normally hate Jennifer Garner (I just do not see the appeal...), and I didn’t like her character in Arthur (you weren’t supposed to), but I will admit she actually seemed like a better actress than she normally is in this one. But Greta Gerwig stole the show for me. She was charming, funny, heartwarming and well-rounded. She had maybe the only realistic character in the whole movie. In fact now that I think about it, based on this film, House of the Devil, and Greenberg; Greta Gerwig always seems to be the best part of everything she’s in.
Overall, Arthur may be worth checking out, if you are someone who can handle/stomach Russell Brand. It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s probably an unnecessary one. They do try to hammer some lines in like “He’s stronger than you think!” or “Arthur has more potential than you know”, but they never really show any evidence of these character traits. He’s more just a funny rich drunk guy. But the real message is there if you want it, and it’s not very subtle. And it’s basically the same message as the original. Also, there was a pretty cool/memorable scene where Arthur empties out Grand Central Station for a date. I guess I liked how it felt like one of those very New Yorky movies, despite being about a British guy. So yeah, the Arthur remake isn’t great, but I found it… …amusing? At least he didn’t try and do the Dudley Moore voice!
If you can tolerate Russell Brand: 6.5 out of 10
If you can’t: Then don’t see this film