Arthur is Jason Winer‘s remake of Steve Gordon‘s 1981 film. The new version stars Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner, Geraldine James, Luis Guzmán and Nick Nolte. (And in small cameos: John Hodgman and Scott Adsit.)
Arthur (Russell Brand) is the epitome of the rich kid: never had to work or worry about anything, always had his driver (Luis Guzmán) and nanny (Helen Mirren) to take care of him and spends money on frivolous things just for the hell of it. Now that he’s more or less an adult, his life consists of parties, sex and alcohol. When his mother (Geraldine James) tells him to marry Susan (Jennifer Garner) who she thinks the perfect person to take over her business later, Arthur is less than overjoyed since Susan is a bit of a psycho. But the threat of losing all the money is enough to make him comply. It’s only when he meets Naomi (Greta Gerwig) that he thinks about maybe taking charge of his own life.
I was pleasantly surprised by Arthur – the trailer made me laugh but after all the bad press the film was getting, I was afraid that they had all the good jokes in there already. But not only does the movie keep up a stable level of humor, it’s generally a very nice and sweet film – that gets the love story completely right.
Naomi has all the makings of a manic pixie dream girl [Warning: links to TV Tropes. Click at your own risk]. But they manage not to let it go there: Naomi doesn’t stay a mystery, she gets agency and her interest in Arthur is not inexplicable – quite to the contrary, Arthur really is loveable, as the post promises. He has his faults – and they’re never made light, but there’s a good heart there, too. And he’s the one who has to change himself, before he can get together with Naomi.
It’s sad enough that it’s something to remark upon – but how great is it that we can say something positive for once! [Also: how nice that Arthur doesn’t fall for Susan because she’s hot and he’s a guy and guys don’t care about more than that.]
But apart from that, the film is also actually really funny. Helen Mirren is wonderfully dry. Jennifer Garner has more comedic talent than I thought. Luis Guzmán was great. And since I recently came out on twitter anyway, I can do it here, too: I like Russell Brand. He’s funny, smart and charming and he is so here, too.
Also, any film that has that many popculture references, Helen Mirren in a Darth Vader mask and a Batmobile makes me happy.
Summarising: It might not be the movie of the year, but it’s a very nice film nonetheless.