Russell Brand and Helen Mirren sharing scenes in a movie? You just have to wonder how this one is going to turn out, observes Devina Divecha
Arthur is a story of growing up, of shouldering responsibility and of relationships. The lead character, Arthur, is played by the irrepressible Russell Brand who brings a sense of childlike wonder to his performance as the spoilt, rich brat whose mother Vivienne (Geraldine James) is absent, busy running a massive financial empire. He is raised by Hobson, his nanny, played wonderfully by Helen Mirren, who deals with him in a stern yet loving fashion. One day, he is given an ultimatum by his mother. Tired of his scandalous ways, she tells him he has to marry Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner) or he will lose his inheritance worth 950 million dollars. Enough spare change to get a man to agree to anything. But he’s already met Naomi (Greta Gerwig) and can’t help but fall in love.
Arthur tries to break free of the shackles of money but finds that the real world, full of responsibility and independence is not as easy without the monetary safety net and the stupor that drinking afforded him. But is his love for Naomi enough for him to change his stint as a drunken playboy and somehow run away from Susan who just wants Arthur’s last name attached to hers?
While a romance-comedy, the film contains quite a bit of adult humour, along with dramatic elements that only adults can appreciate. Russell Brand plays his part well; viewers do fall in love with his character. Surprisingly, his rendition of Arthur isn’t over-the-top, and you begin to appreciate him as an actor. Helen Mirren is as good an actor as always. Jennifer Garner looked too plasticky – I found her acting affected and overdone. Although to be fair, I think her character was supposed to give off that air so perhaps she merely succeeded. Greta Gerwig is like a breath of fresh air. I’ve never seen her before and she lends a pleasant and comfortable sense to the proceedings. Nick Nolte makes a cameo appearance as Susan’s father who terrorizes Arthur. Overall, the acting is average. It’s not spectacular, but it isn’t boring either.
The film is set against the backdrop of New York and there are some lovely scenes inside the Grand Central terminal. But you don’t get to see much else of the city, which is rather unfortunate.
After seeing Arthur I found out that this is a remake of a 1981 film of the same name. I also chanced upon many people praising the original and hating the new one because it couldn’t compare. I haven’t seen the original and because I went into the theatre without expecting anything or looking to compare, I enjoyed the film. It did what it was meant to: make me laugh and have a relaxing two hours. What else could I ask for?