After delivering an inspired performance as an oversexed British rock-star in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Russell Brand couldn’t muster up the same charm in Get Him To The Greek, that wildly uneven comedy about the same debauched musician. His latest film, Arthur now suggests he might be a one-hit wonder after all.
Brand steps into the shoes of the late Dudley Moore in this embarrassingly unfunny remake of that 1981 screwball comedy about the misadventures of a drunk billionaire playboy. The remake focuses largely on the rom-com angle of this story, in which our childish protagonist is under pressure from his mother to get married or risk losing his inheritance. Doesn’t help that the bride to be is a scheming corporate go-getter (played by Jennifer Garner) who doesn’t even like him, but is happy to along with it so she can marry into all that wealth. Arthur agrees to give in to his mother’s wishes, until he becomes conflicted when he falls in love with a free-spirited New York tour guide (played by Greta Gerwig).
The best thing about the original film was the banter between Dudley Moore’s Arthur and John Gielgud as his snarky butler Hobson. In fact, Hobson’s very purpose in that film was to be hilariously rude to the spoilt brat he was looking over. In the new film, Helen Mirren is Arthur’s nanny Hobson, and she softens the character considerably. In fact she’s a maternal figure to Arthur and their interaction is much warmer and also a lot less funny.
The film doesn’t work on any level. The romance between Brand and Gerwig is entirely unconvincing; and although Brand brings his trademark eccentricity to the part of Arthur, it’s a limp, bland performance. In the original film Dudley Moore played Arthur as a lovable idiot, but Brand just comes across as a complete idiot, his antics never qualifying as charming.
I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for Arthur. I’m sure you have better things to do with your time than waste it on this pointless film.