"Arthur" is a remake of the 1981 hit comedy of the same name, which starred Dudley Moore as the title character. Arthur Bach is a drunken but loveable heir to a fortune of millions of dollars who lives a crazy playboy lifestyle in New York City. The original ranked 53rd on AFI's all-time top-100 comedy films.
The remake of the film stars Russell Brand as Arthur and follows a similar plot, but the butler, Hobson, is played by Helen Mirren. Also along for the ride are Greta Gerwig as Arthur's love interest and Jennifer Garner as his power-driven socialite fiancé.
The film begins with Arthur's comical arrest while driving the Batmobile to a black-and-white party, while he is dressed as Batman, with his servant (Luis Guzman) dressed as Robin. Arthur's mother (Geraldine James) then decides that Arthur must marry Susan Johnson (Garner) to straighten his life out, and so that Johnson will one day run the company instead of Arthur. Arthur reluctantly proposes to Susan but soon after falls in love with a tour guide named Naomi Quinn.
Arthur must decide beween the love of his life or the millionaire lifestyle he has grown accustomed to.
Brand is his usual self, funny in his own bizarre way. If anyone is funny enough to fill the shoes of Dudley Morre, Brand has the ability to do so. While at times the audience may wonder whether it is watching Brand or his character, Brand's overall performance as the comedic center and lead in the film was good.
Mirren and Brand have an unusually great chemistry on the screen in this film, and that relationship is what really sells the concept.
Mirren's portrayal of Hobson is at many times comedic and stern, but as the film plays out, it becomes clear that the character cares deeply for Arthur. In a sense, the friendship of Hobson and Arthur at some points even supercedes the romantic subplot of the film.
However, the film does suffer from a lack of overall structure. While the plot does play out in a sort of linear fashion, at many points it seems to lose its way. During the film, the plot takes a detour for a joke or funny sequence that has no real relation to the overall plot and muddles it. This leaves the viewer lost about what is actually going on and not in a good way, as in "Inception."
While the film doesn't have the comedic value to make it very memorable, "Arthur" provides quality laughs, mostly thanks to Brand's theatrics. If nothing else, Brand's performance is enough to carry the film to a slightly above-average experience at the movies.