Available on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Download on June 15, 2011
According to the press release that came with the ‘Arthur’ product, the bold claim is made that “Russell Brand reinvents the role of loveable billionaire, Arthur Bach”. That is pretty much true. The problem is, the ‘reinvention’ creates a character that is not as loveable as the one from the original ‘Arthur’. That’s not to say I have anything against Russell Brand, I think he is fairly talented. It’s just that the 1981 version of ‘Arthur’, which starred Dudley Moore in the title role, was such a gentle, funny and at times very poignant movie that it’s hard to see this remake as being as endearing as the original.
The Russell Brand version of ‘Arthur’ has a lot of the same plot elements as the original. The title character is still an irresponsible child/man who relies on his limitless fortune and a life long personal servant who keeps him out of trouble. Arthur still finds himself facing the dilemma of choosing between an arranged marriage to ambitious corporate exec Susan, played by Jennifer Garner, and being able to keep his fortune. Or he can marry Naomi, played by Greta Gerwig, who is the woman he truly loves. Marrying Greta would mean losing his fortune.
Writer Peter Baynham added his own change ups to make it different. Instead of having a butler taking care of him, the updated Arthur Bach has a nanny named Hobson played by Helen Mirren. Helen Mirren was the best part of this version of Arthur. She is an amazingly talented actress that brings depth to any character she plays. Her version of Hobson is no exception.
Overall, Russell Brand did a passable job of being entertaining as a likable romantic lead, but he fell short of matching Dudley Moore. Even at that, Brand’s one-liners were funny most of the time. I don’t think Jennifer Garner was quite up there with everyone else, but no real complaints. Greta Gerwig was really cute, but she lacked the kind of moxie that Eliza Minnelli brought to the role in the original.
I have to say is ‘Arthur is a decent light romantic comedy, with some really funny lines. There are a few over-the-top bits with the Batmobile and whatnot that are part of the change ups the new writer included that make the new version of Arthur lose out on some of the charm the original had. However I don’t think anyone is going to finish watching the movie and not have laughed out loud a few times along the way and not enjoyed themselves .
The special features that are only included on the Blu-ray disc are strictly for the hardcore Russell Brand fan. I found the ‘Arthur Unsupervised’ special feature too frenetic and it quickly got on my nerves. The gag reel was slightly more palatable.
Overall I give the whole package a C+
Checkout more information about “Arthur’ on DVD/Blu_ray and Digital download at the Warner Brother’s site