Arthur (2011)

(On cable TV, January 2012) Safely devoid of surprises, this romantic comedy about a slacker billionaire having to grow up is a vehicle for Russell Brand’s comic personae more than anything else.  It’s a risky bet, as the spoiled man-child shtick can quickly grow wearisome and then irritating.  Nonetheless, this Arthur remake manages to walk along that line and remain on the side of viewers’ affections: Never mind that Jennifer Gardner is more interesting here as the romantic antagonist than in many of her previous movies: It’s Brand and Helen Mirren as her nanny that steal the show, with occasional assist from Luis Guzman and a gruff Nick Nolte.  The plot beats are intensely predictable, which makes the small details of the story seem more important.  The dialogues are surprisingly good, with a good understanding of conversation-as-argument and a bigger vocabulary than most romantic comedies.  Still, if those strengths do save Arthur from being nothing more than a typically average remake of a much-better film, they don’t do much more to strengthen the film.  At best, we end up with a watchable but inconsequential film that will gradually sink in memory even as the 1981 original will endure. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *