Iím a purist, a traditionalist and I am faithful to a fault, even to a movie. That said, I loved the original movie Arthur. I loved the late Dudley Mooreís portrayal of the affable, millionaire, alcoholic buffoon that is Arthur. When I heard that the movie would be redone, I swore that it could not possibly be anywhere as funny as the original. That is until it was revealed that Russell Brand would be taking over the iconic alcoholic millionaire man-child part. Still, I knew that Russell Brand could be funny, but as good as Dudley?
Dudley Moore played Arthur perfectly because Mr. Moore was a funny little alcoholic. Russell plays it well because he is funny and he has been an alcoholic. That sounds terrible you might say, but well, its true.
Mr. Brand, I must admit, was hilarious! Here is this incredibly rich, immature man getting away with the most outlandish adventures simply because he can throw money at any problem and make it go away. Arthur Bach is the heir to a the Bach Worldwide, a foundation which is losing investors due to his crazy antics. His mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James) has been running the foundation since Arthurís fathers death and now needs Arthur to man up.
So as seen in many rich-boy needs to grow up and become a rich-man movies, Vivienne gives Arthur an ultimatum, marry Susan (Jennifer Garner) or give up your fortune. But that decision would be sooo simple and you need a some kind of glitch to make this story interesting. Into Arthurís life walks Naomi (Greta Gerwig) to complicate things. If he wants to keep the money and the lifestyle heĎs accustomed to he must marry someone he doesnít love, but if he wants to be happy with someone heĎs sure heĎs in love with, he has to give up his fortune. What a dilemma!
Through all of Arthurís fiascos of drunkenness and belligerence there is the voice of reason, his Jiminy Cricket, Hobson (Dame Helen Mirren). Iíve always thought of Helen Mirren as someone regal and at first I didnít think that her playing a nanny would be believable but she is truly an a professional through and through and makes her role believable.
I was commenting to my sweetie, Cine Marcos that apparently you must be Knighted by the British Crown to play the part of Hobson. Helen Mirren is a Dame and the original Hobson, was Sir John Gielgud. Coincidence? I think not! Both played the part beautifully and memorably.
Up until now, Arthurís only goal in life seemed to be getting drunk, having great fun and spending too much money. There are some differences in the way the story is told, but in the end all of the important components are covered even if changed around a bit. Russellís brand (pun intended) of comedy completely works for this character. His adorable accent can be quite cockney and shrill but that just adds to this character. As Arthur puts in in the film, Hobson is ďa menopausal Mary PoppinsĒ who loves and adores him the way only a mother would. Cine Marcos commented that Jennifer Garner would have been more believable in the part of Naomi, originally played by Liza Minelli. Jenniferís a great actress and all, its just that she is simply too sexy and earthy to be believable as an ice-princess, social climbing business woman. Thereís a scene where Susan tries to be spontaneous and sexy and it should come off as unnatural for Susan, but instead, Jenniferís totally sexy! It doesnít work. No disrespect to Greta Gerwig, but although she was cute and all, both Cine Marcos and I felt that Ms. Garner could have been much more believable as the spontaneous free spirit that is Naomi. There are a few cameos played memorably by Nick Nolte as Susanís hard as nails father, Burt Johnson a contractor turned self made millionaire and Evander Holyfield as himself in a funny little scene as Arthurís sparing partner. As for scenery, I present to you New York. ĎNuff said! But seriously, the finest locations in the city of New York are the backdrop for this film. I mean you will see the inside of places you probably would never see even if you did win the Lotto. I happen to pride myself as a New York-a-file (is that a real word?), and I had a ball counting all of my favorite locations, such as Dylanís Candy Bar, Grand Central Station (emptied for the perfect first date), St. Bartís Church and the Pierre Hotel. In the end, I will admit it, this remake works. Itís good. Some might say itís not great but, you can be guaranteed quite a few belly laughs to make it worth your time.
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