'Arthur': What Critics Say

11:54 AM PST 04/08/2011 by Lauren Schutte
Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros

In the remake of the classic 1981 film, Arthur, Russell Brand takes on the role of Dudley Moore's spoiled (and drunk) heir. The critics, however, don't seem to think the new version does much to improve the original. 

The Hollywood Reporter film reviewer Kirk Honeycutt says of the movie: "As a Russell Brand Show, fans and followers may enjoy his extravagant mugging and nuttiness. Those with any memory of 1981's Arthur will be severely disappointed."

As for Brand's performance, Honeycutt writes, "There is edginess to Brand's humor, even an aggressiveness. His Arthur creates scenes, not laughs. He's a pathetic, bratty little boy who refuses to grow up rather than a genial alcoholic who wouldn't harm a fly."

Roger Ebert took a harder stance. "The thing about Moore, who people persisted in calling 'Cuddly Dudley' although he hated it, is that he was just plain lovable," he says in the Chicago Sun-Times. "The thing about Russell Brand is that he isn't, not much, and he should get credit here for at least being a good deal more likable than he usually chooses to seem."

The TimeOut New York review's tagline reads: "If this is the best that they can do, we'll stick with the original." 

"As Arthur, Brand has a handful of funny moments, but it turns out that his singsong Cockney flippancy, which can be such a tonic in small doses, becomes toxic when it’s the whole show," Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman writes. "The reason? He doesn’t connect with anyone on screen."

E!'s L. Thompson gives the film a C+ and says "As in Get Him to the Greek, Russell Brand xcels when playing a wasted, spoiled brat, but falters when the movie decides it has to get moralistic and put an end to his (and our) party," adding, "There are moments here that are genuinely funnier than the 1981 Dudley Moore original, but the movie as a whole is less cohesive and overly melodramatic."

Mr. Moviefone's Russ Leatherman was less tame, writing, "Fans of the Dudley Moore film will hate it, others will only marginally dislike it. And maybe it's time for Brand and his bride [Katy Perry] to take a little vacation. Seriously, take a break. 'Overexposed.'"

On person who is getting praise? Indie darling Greta Gerwig. Thomson says, "Gerwig, though, isn't just a better actress than Garner; she's also arguably better looking."


 

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