'Arthur' remake funny, but unnecessary

Article Published: Apr. 14, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
'Arthur' remake funny, but unnecessary

Russell Brand and Helen Mirren star in 'Arthur.'


Ever see the trailer for 1981's "Arthur?"

It's awful - the trailer, not the movie - looping Dudley Moore's trademark drunken cackle after almost every cut.

It's an unnecessary spotlight on a mildly entertaining aspect.

Coincidentally, 2011's "Arthur" is an unnecessary remake of a mildly entertaining movie.

Russell Brand ("Get Him to the Greek") assumes the titular role of millionaire playboy Arthur Bach, a bug-eyed, drunken man-child whose only saving grace is a happy-go-lucky attitude, bolstered by boundless naivety.

Arthur knows how to have fun, but not much else, and it's up to ever-patient nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren, "The Queen") to bail him out of the problem du jour.

Arthur's happy as a gin-soaked clam, but his mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James, "Alice in Wonderland"), is worried about the future of her business empire. Investors are wary of the heir apparent, prompting Vivienne to arrange a marriage between her son and the business-savvy (and gold-digging) Susan (Jennifer Garner, "The Invention of Lying").

With the Bach surname, Susan could further the company's prosperity, while keeping it in the family. And if Arthur refuses, he'll be cut off from the family fortune.

Arthur, however, fancies working-class Naomi (Greta Gerwig, "Greenberg"), a lovably candid tour guide who's Susan's polar opposite. This prompts the decidedly childish Arthur to mull a very adult question: Is love more important than money?

The remake follows the same plot points as the original, but infuses the familiar story with modern references and a handful of new jokes.

Brand's often hilarious as Arthur, and Gerwig charms as Naomi, but Mirren steals the show as the sharp-witted (and secretly tenderhearted) Hobson, taking an unoriginal role and making it seem new - an incredibly impressive feat, considering cinema's current addiction to remakes, reboots and any other synonym for "lazy filmmaking."

Directed by Jason Winer (TV's "Modern Family"), "Arthur" has its moments, even delivering a few hearty guffaws here and there, but is ultimately stymied by its own redundancy. Like that God-awful trailer.

"Arthur," rated PG-13 for alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language and some drug references, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 24 or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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