Published on April 8th, 2011 | by Courtney Hartmann1
Russell Brand’s performances have managed to find a comedic balance by being racy enough to keep things interesting, but innocent enough to avoid becoming too offensive. Should he step on any toes with his jokes, his delivery is given with such wide-eyed cheeriness that he creates an entertaining (and at times endearing) appeal onscreen.
“Arthur” is based on a 1981 movie by the same name, which tracks the tale of a rich playboy running amok in New York City.There are no price tags on the good times Arthur has for he is heir to millions upon millions of dollars. He is a child disguised in a drunken grown-up’s body, whose mother makes him decide whether he wants to pursue love with sweet Naomi (sunshiny Greta Gerwig) or keep hold of his fortune by entering into a passionless, but money-producing, marriage to savvy businesswoman Susan (Jennifer Garner).
It’s unfortunate that Jennifer Garner continues to portray forgettable characters, typically, dressed in a bridal gown, instead of showing if she has any true acting talent at all. She is a pretty presence on screen but her classic good looks could be easily replaceable, especially in a film like this one. When it comes to the other performances, it is Helen Mirren who nearly steals the show. She manages to captivate the audience with her combination of stoic presence, dry humor and unconditional love as Arthur’s longtime nanny, Hobson. She puts Mary Poppins to shame dishing out better remedies for Arthur’s crazy antics than a singing spoonful of sugar.
There were laugh-out-loud moments and the film felt more like a faux documentary rather than a retread of a classic movie from the 1980’s. It is because Russell Brand commands the attention of every scene he is in (which might actually be every single one of them) in such a way that you wonder if he is playing a role or just an exaggerated version of himself.
“Arthur” bears few surprises that keep the movie flowing at a brisk pace. However, the last twenty minutes was a bit dragged out, lacking in jokes and could have be done without entirely . Russell Brand, with his too tight pants, wild hair and heavy British accent, might be becoming a caricature of himself but is able to create an entertaining and enjoyable experience for at least a couple of hours.