Sun-Herald

ARTHUR

Author: ED GIBBS
Date: 24/04/2011
Words: 313
Source: SHD
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: S
Page: 8
RUSSELL BRAND pulled out the stops in Sydney last week but all that charisma only highlights what is sadly lacking from his biggest starring role to date.

In person, he remains wonderfully sharp, quick-witted and self-deprecating. But in this rehash of the 1981 smash - which featured fellow English comic Dudley Moore in the title role - Brand looks and sounds comparatively bland.

Here, he is Arthur Bach, an empty shell of a man: the sole heir to billions who relies on a devoted nanny (Mirren). When he is faced with being cut off - if he doesn't marry Susan (Garner) - he encounters the kooky-but-cute Naomi (Gerwig). She runs illegal tours in New York and dreams of writing for kids. What to do, then: give it all up for love, or tie the knot with a vulture and hang on to the loot?

Such is the sweet-but-slim premise. Arthur appears far too dim to put even some of the stash in a private account and Hobson (Mirren in her first big-budget comedy, mirroring John Gielgud from the original) appears mildly uninterested in helping. Naomi is nice but dull and any element of surprise is sorely missed. It is a strangely predictable, soulless reworking of a

much-loved gem.

Brand has been at pains to emphasise his love of the original (and its star) but that, too, proves his undoing. While the 1981 film was inventive, poignant and wickedly funny, this new version smacks more of strategy. The effervescent, cheeky-charlie charm that's fast turning him into a global star is also, bizarrely, being sucked out of him just as fast.

Those unfamiliar with the original might not mind this inoffensive tale. However, Brand fans may well opt for his other current release, the animated Hop. ED GIBBS

CRITIC'S RATING 4/10

STARRING: RUSSELL BRAND, HELEN MIRREN, GRETA GERWIG, JENNIFER GARNER, LUIS GUZMAN, GERALDINE JAMES, NICK NOLTE

RATED PG

 
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