Do you like Russell Brand? If answer is ‘yes’ please proceed to read this captivating review. If answer is ‘no’ please stop reading now and take in the rest of this website’s many delights, perhaps by listening to our enchanting podcast. Jokes aside the equation for Arthur is simple: (Alcoholic+Money)-Social Graces= Russell Brand. Maybe it’s because he’s a West Ham fan or maybe it’s because he’s sometimes very, very funny but I have a soft spot for Mr.Brand so it should come as no surprise that I didn’t totally detest Arthur.
The trouble is is that he’s the only thing on screen that’s making me laugh. Helen Mirren has received plaudits for taking on the late John Gielgud’s role but it’s Brand in the late Dudley Moore’s role that really gets the giggles. Likewise Greta Gerwig, in the late Liza Minelli’s role (no, wait a second!), is plenty sweet in the kooky alternative girl role that she’s perfected but she simply provides material for Brand to riff off and get the laughs. I understand the idea of a comic foil but when you’ve got actors like Mirren and Gerwig, not to mention Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte all playing eccentric characters, you expect the laughs to be coming from all over the screen.
There’s plenty to like about the film but really the fairly juvenile script plays second fiddle to Brand’s improvised humour. Plot contrivances a plenty ensure that this is pretty standard, predictable fare (although the parting note that really money is damn good is a bit of a surprise) which relies on setting up a premise and then watching it unfold. Less loyalty to the original (indeed calling it a remake should’ve been unnecessary) would have ensure greater scope for Brand and Mirren’s talents and would have made for a much more chortle ridden film.
Funny asides are in vogue here but the film is too reliant on the Marmite like star of a certain Mr Katy Perry.