Movie Mind Says: Go to Movie Theater
If You Like This You Should Watch: Arthur (1981), Brewster’s Millions
Better Than: Get Him to the Greek, Mr. Deeds
Worse Than: Cocktail, Barfly
Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner
There are two different ways you can look at this film: as a remake of the 1981 classic film starring Dudley Moore; or as a new comedy rendition of a previously used story. If you look at the former, there are a number of items that can be picked on where this version fell short of the original. You all should know I deduct point right off the bat for being unoriginal. However, if you choose to look at it on a standalone basis, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. As usual, the pundits have been bashing this film for one reason or another. Leave it to some blowhard critic to show their true movie-snobiness by criticizing a film that didn’t live up to a film they thought was lousy in the first place! You’d think the 1981 version of Arthur was The Godfather with the way some critics have talked about it. Yet another reason you should pay no attention to those fools and place all your trust in The Movie Mind! Well even if you don’t go that far, at least trust me enough to know that this Arthur is an entertaining and at times, hilarious, film.
For those who haven’t seen the original flick starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli, allow me to reminisce for a minute and indulge those who have. There are some striking differences between to two versions, most notably the lighter tone that came through in the latest version. You see, the original “Arthur” was nothing short of a raging alcoholic who was on a collision course with an appearance in front of Dr. Drew on the next Celebrity Rehab. The alcoholic nature of the modern-day Arthur, while apparent, took on more of a Charlie Sheen meets Lindsay Lohan context. It was a serious condition, but since he was so damn hilarious and fun to party with not too many people were overly concerned. Dudley Moore’s version was certainly fun-loving but he also showed his Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas side just enough.
The other notable difference in the two films shone through in the choice of supporting cast. Critics will point to the drastic difference in casting Hobson. Even if you didn’t see the first version, a quick Google search can reveal that it was played by a guy in the first film. While saying Sir John Gielgud was anything other than grandeur would spark an English revolution, forgive me for suggesting that Helen Mirren was able to bring something additional to the role. She certainly didn’t have the dry wit and humor that Gielgud did, but she was able to accentuate the motherly charm and relationship with her pseudo foster-son. As for Jennifer Garner and Great Gerwig, they may not have been able to top Liza but they did bring a modern-day swagger to the love flame triangle.
I must say that I’m typically not a huge fan of British comedians or that “brand” of humor. There’s a dry wit and subtleness that tends to pass right by The Movie Mind’s funny bone. However, Russell Brand manages to deliver a swift kick to it. I find the dude simply hilarious. As a matter of fact, it was a mere 2 posts ago that I declared he sit in as the next host of the Oscars. While the Academy is certainly too stodgy for that to happen, let’s just hope Brand keeps putting together roles like this.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Nick Nolte (the gruff bad-ass from 48 Hours and Blue Chips fame looking like he aged 30 years overnight) as Burt Johnson, the rough and tumble Pittsburgh father of future Mrs. Arthur.