I have seen the original Arthur, and I think I quite enjoyed it. It was, however, too long ago for me to actually remember much about the film. Lets just say that I have fond memories of it, so much so that when I discovered that a re-make was in the works and Russell Brand was taking the role of Arthur Bach, made famous by Dudley Moore, I let out an audible groan. What, I wondered in not-so-quiet exasperation, do people see in Russell Brand? Adding insult to injury was the inclusion of Jennifer Garner, whose only enjoyable role was in that old TV show Alias, although not having liked anything she’s been in since leaves me wondering if she was any good in that, or if it was just the creative juices of now urber-producer JJ Abrams that carried her poor performance.
Seeing as my memory of the original is misty at best, I won’t attempt a blow by blow run down of what is different, but suffice to say that the main concept is the same.
Billionaire heir Arthur Bach is a drunken playboy living in constant state of debauchery, indulging himself in alcohol fueled sexual adventures and embracing his childhood fantasies with fanboy fantasies along the lines of racing through the streets of Manhattan in the Batmobile wearing the Batsuit. In short he’s a 30 year old boy, who has a nanny to do everything for him, including cleaning up the mess he leaves in his wake, including half naked women.
Arthur’s lifestyle however, as sole heir to the Bach empire, puts the family business in jeopardy, forcing his mother to give him an ultimatum; sober up and marry Susan Johnson or loose everything.
The good thing about Arthur, is that Brand actually down plays his usual self, and dare I say it, is a more convincing playboy drunk than Moore. Though Garner lets the team down, Helen Mirren adds her own style to the film as Arthur’s lifelong nanny, and surrogate mother. Adding to the humour and playing off Brand perfectly is Luis Guzmán in the role of Bitterman.
Whilst the new Arthur hits some bad notes along the way, for the most part it’s a funny, warm and ever so slightly romantic film that you won’t regret watching.
Reviewed by: Jonathan