Russell Brand is Arthur.
Russell Brand is Arthur.

(12A) 110mins

Director: Jason Winer

Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, Geraldine James

THE BIGGEST question would be - why re-make a classic comedy like this? Arthur was a major success back in 1981 and made Dudley Moore a mega-star in Hollywood.

I suppose the fact that the original is now 30 years old and a new generation can appreciate an updated storyline is reason enough.

Most of the character names are the same, the actual plot follows very similar lines but is tweaked enough to prevent it being a carbon copy.

The dialogue has been updated and stands up well to its predecessor, concentrating on some very funny one-liners as in the original.

For those who haven’t seen the original, the plot involves Arthur Bach (Brand), an Englishman and heir to a mega fortune in New York.

Having been spoilt with unlimited access to money all his life, but starved of affection from his parents, he spends his life with various women and getting into trouble with extreme excesses.

To bring him back into line his mother (James) says he must marry the daughter (Garner) of another big businessman (Nick Nolte).

However, Arthur meets a penniless young woman (Gerwig) and falls in love but is told he’ll lose his fortune if he doesn’t go ahead with the nuptials.

If you don’t like Russell Brand you’re really stuck as the whole film revolves round him, though he does seem to slip into the role well enough.

The class acting comes from Helen Mirren as Arthur’s nanny and the film is best when these two get together. Of course, John Gielgud played a butler role in the original, but using Helen Mirren in the role works perfectly.

Apart from the obvious similarities with the 80s and current Arthur, there is a tipping of the hat to the highly successful original theme music by Christopher Cross with a couple of versions in the new movie that aren’t as good.

Overall, though, this is a decent enough re-modelling of a classic comedy.

Let’s hope the 21st century bosses don’t make the same mistake as their 20th century counterparts and release a sequel that failed to live up to expectations.

three out of five stars

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley