|Still from Arthur (2011)|
What it lacks in substance, it certainly makes up for in charm. Although I'll admit I have never seen its 1982 predecessor, Jason Winer’s Arthur Remake starring quirky Brit Russell Brand, stands on its own as a modern day Fairy Tale for Big People.
Arthur (Brand) is a spoiled New York City Playboy with unlimited abundances. He has few ambitions in life other than to drink and have fun, with Nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) acting as a Mother-like voice of reason in his life. His distant Mother Vivienne (Geraldine James) for financial reasons, wants him to wed the bossy Susan (Jennifer Garner), Daughter of Construction Tycoon Burt (Nick Nolte). Arthur of course has no affections for Susan and winds up meeting whimsical Storybook Writer Naomi (Greta Gerwig) by chance one day. Already engaged to Susan, Arthur is torn between finally having to grow-up into a Man and also choosing his Woman he will be with forever. Will he follow his heart?
The biggest problem with Arthur’s script is that presumably its most central theme is that of Love, but this however is outshined by the fact Arthur equally is a Late Bloomer’s coming-of-age Tale. Our attentions are divided between Arthur and his dilemma of having two Lovers and also his relationship with his level-headed Hobson. And because the latter relationship is punctuated by the strength of chemistry between Brand and Mirren, the actual Love Story here is insufficiently tended-to.
A scene-stealing Mirren practically owns the Movie in a scene where she channels Arthur at an Alcoholic’s Anonymous meeting, in case there was ever were any doubt why she is in fact an Oscar winner. On the inverse, this means that we never really get an opportunity to root properly for the Underdog in Gerwig’s Naomi nor do we get a sense that Arthur is caught in enough of a dilemma to fully draw us in. Above this, the talents of Garner and Nolte are under-utilized sorely.
Brand’s sense of Timing and Wit are brilliant and if the role were given to any less capable a Comedic Actor, Arthur would’ve been met with lesser results. Warner Bros.’ Arthur is charming, light fare for a weekend of de-stressing. Grade: B-