WEATHER »
Russell Brand takes on the role made famous by Dudley Moore in Jason Winer's remake of <em>Arthur</em>.

Russell Brand takes on the role made famous by Dudley Moore in Jason Winer's remake of Arthur.


Arthur

Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, and Greta Gerwig star in a film written by Peter Baynham and Steve Gordon and directed by Jason Winer.


Just like the original, this remake of the booze-soaked rom-com Arthur manages to be ineptly retro. When the Dudley Moore version opened three decades ago, it was meant to gloriously revive the American screwball comedy, a 1930s genre that always depended on the comical side of class rifts. The reworking didn’t really work — mostly because Moore felt too toxic, like a Morning in America hangover — but people bought tickets. Here, Russell Brand makes the displacement complete, mostly because he seems like a rock star. Besides that, though, conspicuous imbibing hasn’t really maintained its allure. AA, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, and Lindsay Lohan have justly taken the joy out of sports drinking.

Needless to say, the opening and closing of this film are nearly unendurably off, awkward, as they like to say in movies nowadays. Of course Arthur isn’t all fake comic artifice, but it doesn’t feel like real comic terrain anymore either.

What’s surprising, however, is that the middle of the film is pretty good. Brand has a better-slurred sense of comic timing than Moore, as well as hipper jokes and brighter dialogue. Still, the real stars are Helen Mirren (in the John Gielgud role) and the great Greta Gerwig as Naomi. Both women — one a great veteran and the latter a great hope — manage to make their roles surprising at every turn. That’s what screwball really requires for its kick. And when Mirren and Gerwig grace the screen, Arthur breaks its dumb façade and seems momentarily like real fun.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

New Libertarian Group Seeks Major Redistricting Shakeup

Reason in Government is seeking to create an independent committee.

S.B. Attorney Gets Convicted Killer Off Death Row

Robert Lewis Jr. was deemed too intellectually disabled.

Wife Recalls Husband’s Arrest By ICE Agents in Goleta

She said Jorge was convicted of a DUI 15 years ago but has stayed out of trouble ...

Supervisors Adopt New FEMA Flood Map for Montecito and Carpinteria

It’s not perfect, they say, but it will help people rebuild more safely.

Chumash Leaders Rebury Tuqan Man on San Miguel Island

Tests indicate the remains are between 9,700 and 10,200 years old