Friday, April 15, 2011

Spotlight: "Arthur"

Last night (April 14) Pinoyexchange invited me to watch the press screening of the movie "Arthur" at Glorietta 4 Cinema 3. This is my second time to watch a movie for for courtesy of Pinoyexchange. The first time was for "The Adjustment Bureau" Here's my review of the movie which is also posted at the Official PEx Movie Reviews thread at Pinoyexchange:

I haven’t seen the 1981 movie so I can’t really say if the updated version of this romantic-comedy lived up or ruined the original. In a way, maybe it’s good that I’m judging Arthur through its own merits (and demerits) and not be affected by nostalgia.

Arthur tells the story of a young billionaire Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) who was born with a golden spoon and thus has always relied on his limitless fortune to do everything he wants. He parties hard, sleeps with various women, bids expensive historical items against himself, literally throws away money, and is always drunk. But despite his promiscuous and happy-go-lucky lifestyle, Arthur is still a child at heart who loves to watch cartoons and listens to bedtime stories read to her by her nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren), who has been looking after him since he was a baby and essentially became his only parent since Arthur’s father died when he was young and his mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James), was too busy to take care of him. However, Vivienne had enough of Arthur’s crazy shenanigans as it is already scaring away investors from their company so she decided to set up his son to marry famous corporate executive Susan (Jennifer Garner) to improve his image. Arthur at first refused to be tied down but Vivienne warned him that if he does not marry Susan she will cut off his inheritance and will be left penniless. Arthur who has never worked ever in his entire life agreed to marry Susan so he can keep living lavishly. However, things got complicated when Arthur falls in love, for real, to charming tourist guide Naomi (Greta Gerwig).

Arthur opens with a lot of typical gags and antics you would expect from a movie that stars an actor like Russell Brand. Brand provides funny moments and witty one-liners every now and then but unfortunately it got tiring and annoying at some point. Brand is good in small doses but seeing him almost the entire movie doing crazy stuff is a little too much. Although to be fair Arthur’s antics are not too over-the-top compared to Brand’s previous movies. Obviously this movie also serves as a star vehicle for Brand to showcase not just his comedic chops but his overall acting prowess. Sadly, Brand could not a carry a movie like this on his own just yet, during the movie’s emotional moments Brand simply could not live up to what the scene requires.

The love story follows the typical romantic route however Brand and Gerwig don’t have enough chemistry for you to care if they will end up together or not. Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner is just too good of an actress to play a caricature; one can’t help but think that Garner should be playing better roles than the one-dimensional antagonist Susan. A strong point about this movie though is Arthur’s relationship with her lifelong nanny Hobson. Brand and Mirren played each other well and we could see the characters’ affection with one another. Mirren could play this kind of roles in her sleep but nevertheless she is still effective and brought class to this otherwise average movie.

All in all, Arthur is a solid comedy which provides good laughs with some heartwarming moments as well. However, this movie could’ve been more engaging in the hands of a more gifted actor in the lead role. 6.5/10


Arthur will be shown here in the Philippines on April 23, 2011

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