Arthur 2011—Directed by Jason Winer/screenwriter: Peter Baynham & Jared Stern/starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner/1hr50min/PG-13
(B) This movie was ten minutes shy of two hours, but it seemed like closer to FOUR hours, by my boredom barometer. It doesn’t really deserve to be compared with the Dudley Moore original, except to say that there is no comparison. The chemistry between Moore and John Gielgud (as the Butler) was pure magic. In spite of the great actress that she is, even Helen Mirren couldn’t save this sinking ship. The star was not convincing beyond the part where he plays the fool. How much of that is acting, I’m not sure. My daughter treated me to this movie, and I felt bad for her having to sit through the entire uninspired 110 minutes. She confided—at the exit doorway--that she would have walked out in the first ½ hour, had I not been her ride home. I’m not commenting on anyone’s performances except for Brand’s, because he was in almost every scene. No other actor had a chance to salvage any credibility for individual performances, or to change my opinion on the film as a whole. I did love the wedding dress that Jennifer Garner wore, but that is a sad commentary in itself. When a pretty piece of cloth can steal a whole show that’s saying something. One Monocular (not a full binocular) is all this stinker warrants.
(G) Herein lay the beauty of the “Bifocal Review.” In fact, in this case we had three different sets of eyes watching the same screen, and each of us came up with similar conclusions, one more dismal than the last. Naturally, Helen Mirren’s scenes made the entire experience LESS of a chore. She is great in everything. Unfortunately, her ability to deliver a line of dialogue was severely compromised by the fact that Russell Brand was completely lifeless and the script was DOA. I have to say that I found it compelling (at first) that Gielgud’s character had been switched to a female actress like Mirren, but she did get dubbed to play Shakespeare’s Prospero as the transgender Prospera in last year’s remake. As for Greta Gerwig or Jennifer Garner, the poor things didn’t have a chance. It’s also a shame that Nick Nolte made a “comeback” in a film so unworthy of his talents. We know that he can play the heavy and the straight man in comedy from award winning films of both genres. Perhaps a new audience will not be able to make the comparison between this and the original version, but I dare say that they will come away thinking what we did here: “This is just not that funny.” I am going to be more generous than Barbara or our daughter, Carla and give this movie one full binocular, but let’s face it…the average is still less than one.
If you laugh at the trailer, then be satisfied that you've seen the funniest part of this movie and save your cash.