Dave White
Arthur Review

Dave's Rating:


This is the best that you can do?

Who's In It: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, Nick Nolte, Luis Guzman

The Basics: 1981 happens and you've got this movie about a perpetually drunk billionaire who runs around being wacky. And since 1981 was sort of the last moment in American history when people could be counted on to think alcoholics were adorable or to happily applaud the antics of reckless rich people, that movie was a huge hit. It even spawned a terrible sequel. So Hollywood in 2011, completely unwilling to make films based on anyone but Christopher Nolan's fresh ideas, goes back to the bar and tries to make that lightning strike twice, 30 years after it luckily struck at all. Guess how it all turned out?

What's The Deal: "Arthur, he does as he pleases," goes the weird, ultimately nonsensical lyrics of the Christopher Cross/Burt Bacharach-penned theme song to the '81 Dudley Moore/Liza Minnelli movie. And those lyrics are right. He does exactly as he pleases. But this time around Arthur is Russell Brand and he is, apparently, not pleased to be here or pleased enough to make you laugh very much. It's kind of up to his mood. When he's got the notion to go off script for a second and make some offhanded, improvised aside, he turns into the Russell Brand you know and like, the odd-looking, drug-and-sex-inspired, stick-figurey comedy creature. And then the script slaps him back in line and makes him try to emote or, worse, sends his pickled alter-ego to an AA meeting. It might just drive you to drink.

Co-Starring Someone Who Thinks She's In A Better Movie Than This: No, not Helen Mirren. She's lost here, too. (Save for one moment I'll talk about in a second.) But mumblecore-birthed Greta Gerwig (Baghead, Hannah Takes the Stairs, Greenberg) delivers a strange, earnest performance that feels more like she's observing Russell Brand's tics and smelling the booze fumes coming out of his pores than falling in love with him. It's kind of funny when they're on a date and Brand presents her with a Pez dispenser he had made in her likeness, stating, "As soon as I saw you I knew I wanted to eat candy bricks out of your neck hole." And then nothing after that feels right or natural. When she resists him in the third act all you want to do is pay for her entry into an Al-Anon-sponsored witness protection program so she can get as far away as possible.

Helen Mirren's Oscar Clip: It involves her wearing a speech-altering Darth Vader helmet that makes the wearer sound like James Earl Jones in respiratory failure. She says, "Wash your winkie." I laughed. And I remember that laugh because I counted all of them on one hand.


Comments (10)

Jeannine - 4-09-2011 6:07 AM
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Such a relief that the Arthur remake was a bust. Go watch the original people! It's available instantly on netflix last time I checked.

Phil - 4-10-2011 11:56 PM
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Just want to say that you are the best movie reviewer ever. Thanks for saving me hours of my life, multiple times now.

John B - 4-11-2011 4:14 PM
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I like RBrand and HMirren, but I was concerned when I heard about this remake. The original was so brilliantly written and acted, I didn't see how they could improve upon it. And apparently they haven't. I highly recommend the original for it's many laugh-out-loud moments and touching scenes.

nick wilson - 4-13-2011 3:21 AM
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Honestly, the original sucked. I think, as Dave pointed out, the premise may have been funny in the cultural context of the 80s in America. Watching it was really a total miss for a me and the people I saw it with. Outside of an ineffective/irrelevant premise, The camera work is bad, the plot/character devices are too predictable, and the soundtrack/audio effects are absurdly cheesy. And you guys are telling me its better than the new one??? It must be pathetic.

Joey Barcelona - 4-15-2011 9:47 AM
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Haven't seen it, won't waste my time...figured it would be crap! Attention to Nick Wilson though..."the original sucked" ??? Are you insane? The original is a classic film, will go down in history as one of the funniest flicks ever! Poignant, touching, and filled with great performances, this film is loved by just about everyone. Please go back and watch it again, and again...Arthur is a truly wonderful film!

Sean Barnes - 4-15-2011 3:43 PM
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I personally watched both of them in the same night and i thought the older version was crap, it was not funny to me at all. I liked the one with Russell Brand much better and i think most of your reviews are pretty stupid. thanks

Bull - 4-15-2011 6:11 PM
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@ Sean Barnes - that's because you're an idiot.

sup - 4-25-2011 8:15 PM
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Sean Barnes, what is wrong with you? ok, so I didn't see any of the Arthur movies, but Dave's reviews are always spot on.

Samantha - 4-29-2011 4:31 PM
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@ sup- Actually, you're a retard, and if your stupid review about how 'Dave's reviews are always spot' are not stupid enough (BTW he's getting laid off next week) your username is. I mean seriously...sup?

pete - 7-12-2011 7:18 PM
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Wow!! think maybe Dave the critic has a issue with fictional rich people? Lighten-up! The only people who may have liked this steaming turd of a remake better than the first, were the same tards that thought the Pink panther remakes with steve martin were better than the first with peter sellers. Being born in the 90's may have played a part their poor decision making, MAYBE!! they are also the same group of movie goers moved by the latest Jackass sequel, where they glue things to each others genitalia, while splashing around in poop. Bravo! I say to those same people, remember, the presidential voting date has been moved to November 3rd 2013.

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