It was always going to be a tough call to convince lovers of the 1981 classic Arthur starring Dudley Moore – that anyone else could re-make this movie and get it right.
But out of all the Brit actors I can think of – Russell Brand is the best choice.
I went along to the premiere with a super-smart 17 year old named India who hasn’t seen the original but loves Russell and loved the movie. I’d also seen a screening of the film earlier in the week so that equals two viewings – more than enough to make a few comments on the quality of the celluloid re-make.
Russell succeeds in making a ‘lovable billionaire’ which I pointed out to him in our interview – was an oxy moron. In the film, Russell looks like a kind of transsexual Paris Hilton but – he’s not someone I wanted to strangle.
The script is at its best when Russell has his petulant outbursts – most of which were improv on the set.
Helen Mirren adds a glamour and austere home-cooked love that feels as real between them as Helen and Russell as it did watching them as characters in the film.
Brand got a great supporting cast around him – particularly Luis Guzman who I wanted to see more of in scenes as he could have been utilized more but I guess Arthur already had enough going on in the relationships with all the women in the movie. [Luis reminds me of a hairy chunky Spanish olive that I just want to hug and hug and hug. He’s one of my favourite supporting actors.]
Jennifer Garner did a great job being the cold, hard cow who’d stop at nothing to succeed in every part of her life – the public side with a magazine photo shoot, the private side of being a very proactive lover in the bedroom and the business side of shoring up her financial future.
Not sure what meds Nick Nolte is on but he’s blown up a bit with got that reddish tinge we often see associated with high blood pressure – or those Hollywood tans you can get injected now.
The weakest link is probably Arthur’s true love interest. She was a bit too ‘Phoebe-From-Friends’ for my liking. I didn’t like Friends on TV so she was never going to win me over I guess.
Russell brand might say his first love is stand-up comedy first but there’s no denying he’s making very strategic inroads into Hollywood. My guess is he plans to make chunks of cash from movies so he can have that downtime to feed his soul with live performances. And the more movies he makes, the bigger profile he creates and the more money he can charge us for tickets to his shows. [Not such a lovable ‘billionaire’, huh.]
And BTW – some Aussie cameramen who didn’t think too much of Russell before the junket interviews, liked him much more after spending a day locked in a hotel room with him. A lot of people knock Russell Brand and they’re usually people who don’t know too much about his comedy. They’ve heard one joke or saw that bad haircut from his previous ‘look’.
The guy is a charmer. He’s got that great accent. He’s extremely smart, fast and funny with gravity-defying cheekbones. He’s a sensational dresser and looks like he could go a yard in anything he turned his hand to.
And I mean anything.
He’s also wonderfully wicked. But the best thing about him would have to be his spontaneity.
And if he makes enough money over time, he might morph into his Arthur character later on in life – like Marlon Brando became a Dr Moreau-styled cross between Don Vito Corleone and Colonel Kurtz [then later a beached whale on an island of Tahiti – may he rest in peace.]
My interview with Russell is on Movie Juice Monday 6pm on STARPICS.