Monday, April 11, 2011
Movies 143: Arthur
Many might wonder, why make a remake of a classic? Nobody does Dudley Moore better than himself. There was no original spunky Linda played by that wonderful Liza Minnelli (instead we get a timid Naomi played by Greta Gerwig) and there was the genderswap, Helen Mirren as Hobson. The original Arthur came out in 1981. And it was a rather enabling cavorting movie about a raging alcoholic named Arthur (OK, he was quite a fun drunk). Now we have an updated version. Russell Brand in Dudley Moore's shoes..but not quite so funny. But still British. Very British set in New York City.
Some would say Brand is an acquired taste. And I guess I have acquired a taste for him. Actually, I found this movie more of a drama than a comedy. It was all Helen Mirren's doing. Forget the late night party romps, and Jennifer Garner being the bride from hell or even Gerwig looking quirky and very New York chic, this movie belonged to Mirren.
There were times I thought this should have been a remake of Herald and Maude. It would have been much more easier to do. Brand and Mirren are so unique together. When Hobson got up to make her speech at AA's, it got to me. As she said the things he could not say about his drinking, I started to tear up.
This was a movie that wasn't going to be about enabling someone. So if you think you are off to a movie to have a laugh, well, this isn't the one to go too. Still it has its moments. Some very trusted Russell Brand kind of humor, slipping in and out of being cynical. There are also some sweet New York City scenes along with some very grownup tunes from Eternal Summers (Pogo), Mark Giford (While you wait) and Daniel Merriweather.
TRIVIA: This remake has been made and released practically exactly thirty years after the original Arthur.
STORYLINE: A drunken playboy stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn't like.