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As a high-concept Hollywood pitch, remaking the charming Dudley Moore 1981 comic romp about a man-child billionaire playboy with a rather serious drinking problem and installing Russell Brand as the new lead sounded like a pretty good idea. With Brand's reputation as a semi-reformed bad boy and actual recovering alcoholic/addict (not to mention his parlayed success from English standup fame to movies likeForgetting Sarah MarshallandGet Him to the Greek), he was a great casting choice to reprise Moore's devilishly innocent character. In many ways Brand is among the heirs to first-wave loony British comics like Moore, Peter Sellers, and Spike Milligan, along with actors like Steve Coogan, Eddie Izzard, and Ricky Gervais. But something happened in the 30-year translation that has deflated a lot of charm from the 2011Arthur. Brand is probably the best thing about the movie, although he's never quite able to capture the characterization of a genuinely agreeable immature cad that Moore portrayed so adorably. This is Russell Brand playing another version of himself, which isn't such a bad thing, just not quite adorable enough. Brand is a smart, funny, and quick-on-his-feet improviser, and lot of that comes through, but he'd probably be the first to admit that he's no Dudley Moore.The basics of the story remain unchanged. Arthur Bach is a trust fund child who is stuck in childhood, even though his pampered bubble of wealth now brings him toys like prostitutes, famous movie prop cars (the Batmobile, the Back to the Future DeLorean, the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine, and others all make appearances), and all manner of grownup baubles at every fleeting whim. His stuck-in-childhood mode seems to be blamed on the loss of his doting father at a very young age. But now at 30, his prim mother (Geraldine James) wants him to grow up, stop embarrassing the huge corporation that bears their name, and marry a respectable girl (Jennifer Garner) who will tame him and give the company a veneer of respectability. Upon threat of being cut off from the family fortune, Arthur reluctantly agrees, but then immediately falls for the real girl of his dreams, a lowly--and poor--Manhattan tour guide (Greta Gerwig), who falls for him too. She doesn't even care about the money. The issue of drink is handled somewhat differently 30 years after Dudley Moore made such a loveable and unrepentant chronic inebriant. Since it's kind of a more significant societal issue, the filmmakers haven't really been able to make it as much of a fun and funny part of who Arthur is (plus, Dudley Moore did a drunken shtick that was fairly classic, while there doesn't seem to be much difference between Brand's drunken and sober Arthur). Arthur's drinking is treated as a genuine problem in this update, which also provides comedy the dilemma of dealing with seriousness. Fortunately the sense of forward momentum, Brand's general likeability, and the pervading sunny tone cover up a lot. The other big selling point and major change from the original is the character of Hobson, who for Dudley Moore was a dour butler played by John Gielgud, and for Russell Brand is a disapproving nanny in the persona of Helen Mirren. Both Hobsons were best friends to Arthur, and Mirren's statuesque gravitas brings a lot to the authentic lifelong affection that seems real as handled by both actors. Overlooking some slackness in the script, Brand and Mirren give this bright, shiny updated Arthur longer legs than it might otherwise have had in striding cleverly into audiences' hearts. --Ted Fry
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review by . April 09, 2011
Surprisingly good
   Upfront, I liked this movie, though apparently I was one of the only people who did. Perhaps I’m helped by not having seen the original movie. I grew up in the 1980′s, and I was certainly aware of the movie. God knows I heard That Song everywhere. But I never actually got around to watching the film, even as an adult. This meant that I could view this movie for what it is rather than compare it. And what it is was actually pretty good. Yes, it’s perhaps a bit much …
review by . August 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     Just about every Hollywood remake is unnecessary. Good, I've gotten that out of the way; now I can properly review the recent re-make of the classic 80's comedy favorite, "Arthur". The original is a very good film, one that I enjoyed thoroughly, and also one that I never quite wanted to see being remade. But it was bound to happen eventually. The good news about the final product (the remake) is: it's not bad. It is well-cast in some areas, it is moderately …
review by . April 08, 2011
Review: Russell Puts His Brand on ‘Arthur'
    Perhaps like most viewers who have watched and been longtime fans of the original 1981 Arthur film, starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli, I went into the new Arthur experience convinced I might not like it. I was surprised to find that it was certainly a pleasant film with many moments of genuine laughter but also not different enough to warrant a remake. Too many scenes were borrowed from the original making it impossible to not reference and compare the two versions.   …
review by . April 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There are those that will cry foul on this movie. That a remake of Arthur during a recession is unseemly and any attempt to try and recreate the brilliance of Dudley Moore would be fool hearty. Sure all of that is true but the original is about a drunk with one liners, that movie has been redone so many times why not try to re-share the story for a new generation.      Both old and new Arthur focus in on a drunken millionaire living up the high life, but he is forced …
review by . April 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         I won’t dispute the greatness of the original 1981 version of Arthur. I will say that, in its own right, this 2011 remake is funny and often times quite charming. This is thanks in large part to the spot-on casting of Russell Brand, who may not have the same loveable graces of the late Dudley Moore but has just the right eccentricities to make multi-millionaire Arthur Bach an appealing yet piteous drunk. His take is a cross between an alcoholic …
review by . June 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
12A - 110mins - Comedy - 22nd April 2011 Now for a guy who takes an immediate disliking to Russell Brand the prospect of watching him for nearly 2 hours did not fill my heart with joy especially when he was to be acting as a rich layabout. But I buckled on down and watched away hoping to be pleasantly surprised and I have to say, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be (still nothing special mind). Arthur is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name and follows Arthur (Russell …
review by . April 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Upfront, I liked this movie, though apparently I was one of the only people who did. Perhaps I'm helped by not having seen the original movie. I grew up in the 1980's, and I was certainly aware of the movie. God knows I heard That Song everywhere. But I never actually got around to watching the film, even as an adult. This meant that I could view this movie for what it is rather than compare it.    And what it is was actually pretty good. Yes, it's perhaps a bit much to ask American …
Quick Tip by . April 25, 2011
Since the original "Arthur" is one of my all-time favorite films I shuttered when I heard a year or so ago that they were going to be doing a remake. I have not heard very many good things about this film and have no plans to see it.
Arthur (2011)
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