Should I ever have to review a film, I always make sure to avoid prior reviews before watching and I believe it’s a practice that many film journalists adhere to. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to attend Arthur, the ‘remake’ of 1981 comedy of the same name, I’d already been privy to a number of damning reviews. Entering the cinema I feared the worse, conscious that all the bad press was probably true; that Brand really was ‘that crap’ and worst still, that I’d waste two hours of my life sat in front of a seat tapping moron.
While the latter was unfortunately accurate, the former was (remarkably) far from the truth, at least in the sense that the criticism seems completely unwarranted. This isn’t to say that Arthur is the best thing since sliced bread – far from it. The film itself is twenty minutes too long, and director Jason Winer has utilised the musical montage sequence far too often to an almost comical length.
Nevertheless, most reviews appear to have forgotten all sense of objectivity when reviewing the film. It’s a Rom-Com, not Citizen Kane; it’s not going to move the earth and as far as Rom-Coms go, it’s by no means the worst. And yet, it seems almost criminal that some critics have labelled Brand’s performance as shoddy. After all, in a genre in which Gerrard Butler is a Bounty Hunter and Hugh Grant a pop music writer, it seems ludicrous to lament Brand for playing a character who is essentially a hyper-real version of himself.
Arthur isn’t great or as iconic as the film’s original source: fact. But it’s filled with enough genuinely funny one-liners to fill its 110 minutes. Whatsmore there’s a sufficient level of absurdity to keep audiences entertained throughout, with one shot alone containing The Batmobile, a Deloreon AND The Mystery Machine. So while the film may be slightly light on the romance side of things, Arthur is definitely a welcome stab at what is undeniably an oversaturated and often tedious genre.