Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 15
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors

Advertise in Town Topics

Weather Forecast


For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE I CAN TRUST: Arthur (Russell Brand, right) turns to his faithful servant Hobson (Helen Mirren) for help in making the right decision. Should Arthur enter into a loveless marriage that has been arranged for him by his mother, or should he follow his heart and marry the woman he loves? See the movie to see how it all turns out.

Arthur: Reckless Playboy Risks Inheritance in Comedy Remake

Kam Williams

Bon vivant Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) stands to inherit a billion dollars as the sole heir of a fortune that is controlled by his widowed mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James). But because the eligible bachelor has been a constant source of embarrassment to the family, his mother is ready to cut him out of her will.

It seems that Arthur’s tawdry exploits always end up splashed across the tabloids, such as the time he exposed himself in a limo or when he woke up in bed with a couple of teenage transvestites. Worst of all, Arthur’s also a staggering speech slurred alcoholic who always has a flask of liquor in his pocket and is ready to seize on any flimsy excuse to imbibe. His only close friend is Hobson (Helen Mirren), the loyal nanny/confidant who’s been tucking him into bed and reading him to sleep at night since he was a toddler.

Fed up with watching her son fritter away both his trust fund and his future, Mrs. Bach decides that marrying and settling down with a suitably pedigreed socialite is the only way that her playboy son will ever grow up. So, she arranges for him to wed Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner), the daughter of a Manhattan real estate tycoon (Nick Nolte).

Arthur only agrees to the marriage after his mother gives him an ultimatum: either marry her or lose your inheritance. The engagement is announced and soon New York City is abuzz about the impending nuptials and Town & Country magazine devotes a cover story about the couple.

Meanwhile, Arthur regrets his decision when he realizes that he is really in love with Naomi Quinn (Greta Gerwig), a free spirited tour guide whom he recently met in the Grand Central Terminal. His impending wedding forces him to realize that has fallen in love with Naomi, even though she’s not in the social register and lives with her father (Peter Van Wagner) in a modest tract house in Queens.

Arthur tries to convince Susan that they are the victims of a “macabre conspiracy to railroad us into a loveless marriage.” However, his bride-to-be will have none of it, nor will Arthur’s mother who is mortified to learn of his association with a low class girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Thus, Arthur finds himself on the horns of a dilemma: whether to forsake a huge inheritance and marry the woman he loves, or to enter into a marriage of convenience so he can continue to live in the lap of luxury.

Arthur is a remake of the 1981 classic that co-starred Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli, and for which Sir John Gielgud won an Academy Award playing Hobson. However, this critic would like to think that our sensitivity about alcoholism has evolved to the point where we recognize it as a serious affliction, and therefore wouldn’t want to be so callous as to laugh at a character who is hopelessly in the grip of the disease.

The second major flaw is that whereas Moore portrayed Arthur as an impish, endearing person, Russell Brand plays him as a brazen and unapologetically audacious lout, which makes the character an unlikable protagonist.

Even this version’s anticlimactic finale is a tension free afterthought which pales in comparison to the original’s exuberant Hollywood ending. Arthur 2.0, is not an improvement on the original.

Fair (1 star). Rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, and pervasive substance abuse. Running time: 110 minutes. Distributor: Warner Brothers.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

Return to Top | Go to Music and Theater Reviews

Town Topics® may be purchased on Wednesday mornings at the following locations: Princeton — McCaffrey’s, Cox’s, Kiosk (Palmer Square), Krauszer’s (State Road), Olives, Speedy Mart (State Road), Wawa (University Place); Hopewell — Village Express; Rocky Hill — Wawa (Route 518); Pennington — Pennington Market.
Copyright© Town Topics®, Inc. 2011.