Title: Arthur

Format: Blu-ray+DVD+Digial Copy

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Jason Winer

Written by: Peter Baynham

Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Luis Guzman, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Garner

Studio: Warner Bros.

Film Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Blu-ray Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Film

It has been a long while since I’ve seen a movie quite as bad as Arthur. Imagine, for a moment, a drunkenly obnoxious friend who for cannot be begged for one moment to stop his antics. Stretch that out to a 110-minute feature film, and give that friend infinite wealth and take away half of his brain and you’ve got Arthur, the latest remake atrocity from Warner Bros.

Based on a 1981 film of the same name, Arthur tells the tale of its titular character (Russell Brand), who is a millionaire playboy, who, much like many of the famous children inheriting wealth nowadays, constantly finds himself in the public eye, embarrassing his family with his antics. And this is not good for business, with investors worried about getting involved with a company that Arthur is anywhere near.

So the movie’s solution is to see Arthur forced into an unhappy marriage with the self-interested Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner), while he actually falls in love with the much-less-rich-and-therefore-not-acceptable-to-the-family Naomi Quinn (Greta Gerwig). Meanwhile, his nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) tries to keep up with his stupid antics and force him into the marriage and adulthood, though we always have a hunch that she really wants what is best for him.

The problem is Russell Brand (or is it? more on that in the Blu-ray section), who is always working a mile a minute, but never with enough of a payoff. Though he caught our interest in supporting roles like Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he’s just too much for the lead role, at least without a better editor. He’s going a million directions at once, and none of them seem to really work for the film in which he is starring, leaving Arthur more annoying than entertaining.

The Blu-ray

The Blu-ray, interestingly enough, features a short behind-the-scenes featurette, additional footage and a gag reel, all of which suggest maybe the filmmakers are more at fault than Brand. In all likelihood, everyone on this project failed, but Brand apparently worked with a combination of scripted material and copious amounts of improv.

This first of all indicates that maybe director Jason Winer just needed to work harder to rein him in to the performance. But the interesting thing is that a lot of the material in the outtakes seems to be a hell of a lot funnier than anything that made it into the film. Maybe it didn’t all fit or work with the plot (in which case this film’s script is primarily at fault), but it points to good material being thrown away in favor of the bad stuff. Nevertheless, it’s always a bad sign when the scrapped material overshadows the film itself. Arthur is one to pass on, even as a rental.

For more info, warnerbros.com

Pads & Panels received a copy of the Blu-ray courtesy of the studio for review purposes.