Monday, May 2, 2011

The Dukes See a Movie: Arthur

I am guessing most of our readers have not seen the original so I won't spend a ton of time comparing the two. (I apologize if you have seen the original Dudley Moore version but you can't blame me for my assumption.) The only thing I will say is that in the original his mother and nanny are played by dudes. By dudes I mean it is his father and butler rather than mother and nanny.

Russell Brand plays a loveable drunk who also happens to be the sole heir to an incredibly large business empire. He enjoys his life of wild parties and nonstop fun but his mother (called Vivian by Brand) can see that the shareholders are afraid of what the future holds with someone so irresponsible at the helm of the company.

In order to fix that his mother gives him an ultimatum. Marry Jennifer Garner (who will in truth control the company) or be cut off from the family fortune. Brand finds himself in a bit of a quandary seeing as how he met and started falling for a girl who happens to be quite odd herself.

The movie which was quite funny also had quite a few serious issues laced throughout. I will mention three of them.
                                                                                 *SPOILER ALERT*
  1. Alcoholism- Brand is seen in nearly every scene drinking some sort of alcohol. Most of the time he handles it well but you can see how it debilitates him. It shows Brand attempting to go to an AA meeting and having it not go very well.  Later on he gives it another go for the woman he loves and it shows him earning his 6 months sober coin.
  2. Death- In the film it tells us that Brand lost his father when he was quite young and that pushed him closer to his nanny. Sadly in the film the nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) gets quite sick and is unable to work. Her sickness led him to find some modicum of self dependence but he falls to pieces when she dies and he no longer has someone to take care of him.
  3. Mother Son Relationships- His mother isn't really the loving type so that also helped push him closer to his nanny. Brand never is able to feel comfortable around his mother since she is constantly pushing him to do what she wants. This gets a little better when Brand changes his life and stands up to her.
Well enough with the serious stuff. This movie really is a comedy and it is one of the rare ones where the comedy continually felt fresh. As pointed out by Nathan most comedies these days start to feel old partway through the movie. This one didn't feel that way partly because of the writing and also Brand's comedic timing. A few of the gems involved a giraffe and a monocle, his fear of horses and story time at a bookstore. When all was said and done I enjoyed this movie.

Rating 3.5 stars.

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