Dumb Arthur Rethink Makes Us Miss Dudley and Liza
In this rethink of the 1981 screwball throwback, the titular drunken heir, originally played by lovable lump Dudley Moore, has been rebuilt to suit slinky British sleaze-comedian Russell Brand, whose constant nattering rarely transcends throat-clearing improv. The film apparently takes place in the present day (cue recession reference), although no one seems to have heard of those common contemporary safety nets for the idle rich, the Internet, or reality TV. Still supposedly a debauchee, Brands Arthur cruises Manhattan in too-tight schoolboy suits and fawns over Naomi (Greta Gerwig), a wide-eyed tour guide who wears rompers and longs to write books for kids, while John Gielgud and Geraldine Fitzgeralds parental surrogates have been conflated into a single nanny (Helen Mirren), still hanging around the thirtysomething Arthurs nursery. Where Moores Arthur found his establishment-defying soulmate in wacky poor girl Liza Minnelli, the new film attempts to romanticize Arthur and Naomis shared childlike naïveté and chaste affection; the billionaires business-minded arranged bride, on the other hand, is sexually aggressive to the point of debasing the actress who plays her (Jennifer Garner). Maybe the 1981 film isnt exactly a sacred cow, but from the temperance subplot that replaces the originals unrepentant celebration of Arthurs obliteration to the shitty up-tempo cover of Christopher Crosss karaoke classic Arthurs Theme, this remake seems to exist only to zap the original of its minor pleasures.
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