If he comes from a wealthy family, then he’s got to be one of those buggers who doesn’t know the value of earning a living. Moreover, he mindlessly splurges his money on booze, women and impossibly elaborate dates that involve something like rerouting all trains in New York so he and his date get to enjoy Grand Central Station in peace. But in the end, (no surprises here) he finally breaks away from the “shackles” of his burden, usually a parent threatening to cut him off if he doesn’t do so-and-so, to settle down with a poor girl who teaches him the value of life. Boring!
There’s nothing about Arthur that you haven’t already seen in the likes of the 1995 Adam Sandler movie, Billy Madison. Sure, one goes back to school to earn the right to run his company, while the other get’s forced into marrying a dominatrix (Jenifer Garner) just so he can continue accessing his $950 billion inheritance. Throw in a blond aspiring writer (Greta Gerwig) who loves children’s tale as him, a nanny (Helen Mirren) who’s so over Merry Poppins & you’ve got yourself a movie that’s got you feeling bad for the star studded cast.
The sad thing is that Billy is actually enjoyable because the movie has an agenda – Billy will complete a week in every grade and then he’ll take over his father’s empire. Arthur on the other hand, aims to sell itself purely on Russel Brand’s personality (which is quite funny, by the way). But unfortunately, it isn’t enough if you’re looking to enjoy a movie that isn’t a stand-up act in disguise. A predictable drag, the plot loses all direction the minute Arthur meets his love interest, Gerwig, who really could try an expression that isn’t reminiscent of a constipated doe. More importantly, you really feel for Garner who hasn’t been able to catch a good break since her tiny role in the Oscar nominated, Juno.
Seriously, Russel Brand should stick to what he knows and does best – stand-up comedy. Sure experimenting with supporting roles a la Forgetting Sarah Marshal might also work… to an extent. But to grab the reigns and lead a movie isn’t his foray. He just goes down and take his co-stars’ credibility with him.