A funny Brand of "Arthur"

April 12, 2011, 7:17 p.m. | By Allison Daitch | 13 years, 1 month ago

An unconventional cast creates a lighthearted remake

Surely there is no better way to spend time than watching the frivolous shenanigans a billionaire buys himself into and there is no better person to play the part than comedian Russell Brand. A remake of the 1981 original, "Arthur" proves to be simple entertainment with likable characters despite a predictable plot.

As the sole heir to the multi-billion dollar Bach Corporation, Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) lives life to the fullest and just wants to have fun alongside his nanny and best friend, Hobson (Helen Mirren). When Arthur's long absent mother becomes sick of his recklessness, she threatens to cut him off from the Bach fortune unless he marries one of her associates, Susan (Jennifer Garner). Realizing that he is unable to live without the money, Arthur grudgingly obliges - only to run into the most fascinating girl he's ever met, Naomi (Greta Gerwig). Unable to decide between wealth and true love, Arthur tries everything possible to have the best of both worlds and delay the decision he must ultimately make.

It's the likeable characters in "Arthur" that make up for the rather predictable plot. Brand portrays the immature playboy masterfully thanks to his naturally exuberant personality. As Mirren's character said, "He's merely shaped as an adult." Arthur's perfect foil, the sophisticated Hobson, is a solid anchor who refreshingly brings out the better side of him. Another notable performance came from Gerwig, who is sweet without being saccharine. We can't forget Garner who convincingly plays a crazed, money driven phony.

"Arthur" is filled with witty one-liners that are thrown into the cute banter between Brand and his costars. Brand and Gerwig are an adorable couple who perfectly complete each other. Brand's wild antics range from dressing in a giant gummy bear suit to allowing a little kid to question his gender and call him Harry Potter. Overall, this movie always has some chuckles to share.

Unique cinematography techniques set this movie apart from similar plot lines. In between almost every scene is a transition shot of an obscure angle view of New York City. It takes advantage of the beautiful setting and shows the audience scenes from perspectives few have ever seen. From dazzling upward shots of the skyscrapers to the spinning obscurity which transforms into Grand Central Station, these few moments stand out and tie together the rest of the movie.

For those who remember the original, the one unchanged element that ties the new to the old is the memorable "Arthur" theme song - Christopher Cross's "Best That You Can Do." Other songs on the soundtrack, from classics like "Going to the Chapel" to the more indie songs like "Can't Buy You," help to set the mood, and close listening to the lyrics affirm that the words relate to the scene.

Although some critics might say that nothing compares to the original, fresh actors put a complementary spin on the new version of "Arthur." With clever lines sprinkled all over to the pure fun of watching the hysterical Russell Brand and his dynamic costars, "Arthur" brings out the child in everyone.

"Arthur" is rated PG-13 for alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language and some drug references. Now playing in theaters everywhere.

Allison Daitch. "Are you a mod or a rocker?" "No, I'm a mocker." I'm Allison, a.k.a. Allie. I love The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld and Harry Potter. I could live off of Cosi TBMs and Signature Salads, with the occasional Quattro Formaggio pizza thrown … More »

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