If “Arthur” proves anything, it is that Helen Mirren can do no wrong, no matter how bad of a movie she is in.
To be fair, “Arthur” is not a complete travesty—anyone who likes Russell Brand will be amused and willing to take the 110-minute ride with him.
For the most part however, “Arthur” is a disappointing mess with mediocre acting and jokes that, more often than not, fall flat.
It’s the remake of the original 1981 movie, starring Dudley Moore in the title role, and Liza Minnelli. The 2011 Arthur (Brand) is a spoiled, alcoholic bachelor whose nanny, Hobson (Mirren), takes care of him as if he were still a child.
In an effort to make him more respectable after he publicly humiliates his family, his mother commands Arthur to marry an heiress, Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner), or lose the family fortune. However, he ends up falling in love with working-class Naomi (Greta Gerwig) instead, and must decide whether money or love is more important.
The entire movie is more than predictable. Just 30 minutes in, you know how the plot will play out and who Arthur is going to end up with.
The acting is mostly subpar. Garner looks confused in her role as the crazed heiress. Gerwig can’t quite live up to her role’s expectations, and instead of rooting for her as the movie clearly wants you to, you end up not caring that much.
Brand gives his best, but he is essentially playing himself. Any time he has to feign any type of seriousness, it ends up a little funny instead. However, as a lead character, he is amusing and generally sympathetic.
Mirren is in a class all by herself. She makes the movie that much more entertaining, giving a truly warming performance that perfectly balances Brand’s manic behavior. She is regal, as always, and delivers a clearly thought-out performance.
Scenes between her and Brand are the true highlight of the movie, as she draws out the best in him.
The music helps the movie a bit, with two gems from Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, adding just the right touches of atmosphere for key scenes.
It is a great premise, and the movie holds plenty of potential. However, as with most remakes of classic movies, it fails to hold the same charm and deliver the original message as brilliantly.
“Arthur” is good for a quick laugh or for any movie-goers who prefer the feel-good variety, but other than Mirren, the actors fail to deliver on what could have been a charming love story about a man who finally learns how to take care of himself.