Claremore Daily Progress


April 12, 2011

REVIEW: ‘Arthur’ playing in Claremore

CLAREMORE — For such a diminutive man, Dudley Moore left some mighty big shoes to fill.

Perhaps nowhere were Moore’s figurative shoes ever bigger than in his portrayal of witty millionaire boozer Arthur Bach in 1981’s romantic comedy “Arthur.”

Now 30 years later, Warner Bros. Pictures has given the fondly-remembered Moore classic a 21st century update with British actor Russell Brand stepping into the title role.

As in the original, 2011’s “Arthur” tells the story of an irresponsible charmer who relies on his (practically) limitless fortune and the good sense of his lifelong nanny (played to lip-pursing perfection by Oscar winner Helen Mirren) to get through life and (unsuccessfully) try to keep him out of trouble.

Fun-, not to mention alcohol-loving to a fault, Arthur spends his days indulging in whatever whims occur to him, whether it’s outbidding himself on Abraham Lincoln’s clothing (which he then wears) to crashing the Batmobile into an uncomfortably anatomically correct bull statue.

When his unpredictable public image threatens the earnest reputation of the family foundation however, Arthur’s mother gives him an ultimatum — either marry the outwardly beautiful but inwardly unlovable Susan Johnson (played gamely by Jennifer Garner), an ambitious corporate exec who can keep him in check, or bid his billion-dollar inheritance (and the only way of life he knows) good-bye.

Further complicating Arthur’s situation is his falling in love with the free-spirited and leggy Naomi (Greta Grewig), a New York City tour guide and aspiring children’s book author, who — after first thinking Arthur to be homeless — falls for him in return, sharing his idealism and spontaneity, and seeing the potential within him that few others can.

Whether or not Arthur chooses true love over money is really never in question for anyone who’s seen the original, but the execution of a story that’s familiar to most still plays out with enough originality and humor to be enjoyable enough as if seeing it for the first time.

Comparisons of this version to Moore’s highly-regarded 1981 version are unavoidable, but whether Brand’s lanky, long-haired stove-pipe hat wearing Arthur is “better” than Moore’s elfish, perpetually giggling top-hat wearing Arthur is merely a matter of taste — both are essentially two similar but different flavors of the same childlike character.

Playing off a script by “Borat” scribe Peter Baynham, the jokes in “Arthur” come fast and often, the majority of which coming from Brand, whose cockney accent makes him sound like a wise-cracking if slightly buzzed Davy Jones (of “The Monkees” fame), innocent of guile and truly bewildered by people’s lack of appreciation for his lifestyle.

Aside from the toothy Brand, other cast stand-outs include the consummately British Mirren, stepping into the gender-flipped role of Hobson (now Arthur’s long-suffering nanny instead of his butler), originated by the brilliantly dry John Gielgud, and Nick Nolte as Susan’s father, Burt Johnson, growling every line as through he were a bulldog who’d mastered the human language, and so literally thick-skinned, he barely notices when Arthur accidentally shoots him with a nailgun.

The updated “Arthur” also benefits from a more generous budget — scenes of Arthur wooing the wide-eyed Naomi with rose petals, acrobats and Pez dispensers in an emptied-out Grand Central Station in New York City are as impressive visually as they are genuinely sweet, and Arthur’s magnetic bed is a fun bit of eye-candy.

Granted, it may be a challenge for audience members living through the recession to completely empathize with a “poor little rich boy,” but “Arthur” does deliver in enjoyable performances, quick-witted dialogue, and a handful of solid laughs.

After all, how can one not smile at a movie that contains the line, “Hobson, could you please detach the half-naked businesswoman from under my bed?” You don’t hear that every day.

“Arthur” is rated PG-13 for alcohol use throughout, some sexual content, profanity, some drug references, and gratuitous batsuit nipples.

“Arthur” is currently playing in Rogers County at the Claremore Cinema 8. 

Text Only
  • Debra Carpenter MOTHER INTERRUPTED: Mom’s frantic Easter Egg hunt

    Normally, I like to think I’m pretty organized. I know where everything in the house is whether it belongs to me or not, which is a good thing when my husband can’t find his favorite t-shirt (It’s folded up on top of the dresser) or when my daughter is having a meltdown because her Lalaloopsy doll is apparently “gone forever” (It’s on her bed). But in life, and in organization, you win some and you lose some. This is the story of me “losing some”-okay, a lot. 

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smooth or Chunky?

    When it comes to preparing a meal cooks are called on to make multiple decisions.  Even after deciding what items will be on the upcoming menu, more choices must be made.
    For example will it be fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast?  At lunch time will it be chili with or without beans?  Which will go better with the dinner steak, French fries or baked potato?

    September 29, 2011

  • Words to the wise: Stay away from Highway 66 in Verdigris

    For the ones of you who have been involved in the mess already will know what I am talking about.  For the rest of you, please take warning.  The following could probably save a lot of stress.

    September 13, 2011

  • Picture 3.png Boathouse Jail

    It seemed to be a simple request and an interesting one to boot.

    August 3, 2011 3 Photos

  • Larkin, Larry.tif Special Moments

    It seems like several local residents are keeping a constant watch as workmen have starting tearing down the old original high school building.  

    July 23, 2011 1 Photo

  • Larkin, Larry.tif Moving Into New Century

    It appears my family has been successful while dragging me into the 21st Century.  After must urging and a few light threats, I finally gave in this past week and became a “Facebook” member.

    July 16, 2011 1 Photo

  • Larkin, Larry.tif Here’s to the Girls

    I have a question for someone who knows.  It is not an earth-shaking question, but I would like to know the answer for no particular reason.

    July 5, 2011 1 Photo

  • bumblebee.png REVIEW: New ‘Transformers’ is loud, clunky, but visually impressive

    Optimus Prime is having a bad day.

    July 5, 2011 1 Photo

  • sherrer,-Ben-2007-0105.jpg What’s up with fuel prices?

    For many Oklahomans the cost of gasoline makes up a large part of their monthly budget. When gas prices go up, it often means families must rearrange their priorities so that they can simply fill their cars with fuel. 

    June 24, 2011 1 Photo

  • greenlantern.png REVIEW: ‘Green Lantern’ is not the character’s ‘brightest day’

    Humorist Frank Gelett Burgess is often credited as having said “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”

    June 21, 2011 1 Photo