film review: Arthur (2011)


Arthur poster Russell BrandYou know. I enjoy a lot of films. I rarely slate a film. I know I wasn’t particularly nice about Scre4m last week but I didn’t slate it. It was alright. I think a lot films are all right and I tend to give a lot middling ratings as a result. If I really think a film is good it’ll get a 7.5 or an 8. A relatively normal film will get around 5.5-7. It has to have problems that you can’t ignore before I’ll go below 5.

Arthur has problems that you can’t ignore.

Actually, before I get into it I should say. I like Russell Brand, he’s cool by me. Also I haven’t seen the original film so I had no particular expectations going into it.

Right that’s that out of the way.

This is an awful film. It’s terrible. It’s not just one of the worst films I’ve seen this year. It’s not just one of the worst films I’ve seen in many years. It’s one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. And I don’t say this kind of thing lightly.

I like to be fair to films. I am a patient viewer. I’ll forgive bad dialogue, I’ll forgive a poor plot. I’ll ignore it when things don’t make sense. I’ll wait and see, maybe a film will come round. As long as there’s some thing good about it. If it’s funny, or it looks good or the effects are cool I’ll give it credit. I mean people, I even gave Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen a good review. I’m a very tolerant film fan…

But this film… This film… This film was muck. I would never walk out of a film but oh, how I wanted to. At one point I turned to my friend beside me and asked the time. He said there was still an hour left. I could have cried. It was that painful. I started knocking my head against him. This wasn’t hard enough so I looked around to see if there was anything else I could hit my head off. There wasn’t, but the search served as a welcome distraction. I took out my phone to check what the running time of the film was. 1 hour 50 mins. It hadn’t even been an hour yet.

This has got to be one of the worst scripts I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing. It’s not that the actors are bad. They’re fine. It’s just that all they’ve been given to work with is a great steaming pile of… well you know where I’m going there. I can’t believe this guy was involved in Borat. I loved Borat. But this film… this film.

Ok, ok. I should actually say something about it rather than just telling you how much I hated it.

Right. Where to start. Well, ok. Let’s go with the plot. Arthur is the heir to a large corporation and so is very rich. He’s also a hedonistic playboy who’s always getting into trouble. So, his mother decides he should marry this women played by Jennifer Garner. Her family is wealthy by their own means and she’s…. you know what I can’t be bothered to go into the details. Suffice to say he doesn’t like the idea. There’s this vague attempt to tell us that this is because he believes in real love. Which promptly comes along, in the form of Greta Gerwig. Problem is, he doesn’t get the money if he doesn’t marry Garner, and he can’t live without the money. That’s already more that I wanted to remember but hey. I do it for you.

It’s a fairly bog standard story to be honest. It’s just done so badly. For example, him falling in love with Gerwig. He basically meets her on the street and falls in love. That’s fine, it happens all the time in movies. But this time you don’t believe it. There’s no spark between them at all… and the part where they actually build a relationship isn’t in the film. As far as I could glean, she’s a gormless fool and he’s an idiot man-child. Am I supposed to care about these two?

The mother, Garner, her father and Arthur’s driver pop up here and there to… nope, I don’t why they’re there.

The only person who gets a character that has any kind of development at all is Helen Mirren. And bless her, she is trying. They’re all trying in fairness. I don’t blame anyone actually acting in this. It’s not their fault. It’s just that, for whatever reason, the director has decided that what he wants to do is lurch aimlessly from the boring to the annoying to the mind-numbingly stupid for the whole film.

The overwhelming impression that I was left with was that they took a normal movie and cut out everything that might be good in it. I can see it now…

Major plot point *snip*
Character development *snip*
Funny dialogue *snip*
Emotional connection *snip*

Or rather, they cobbled together a film from everything any good film would leave on the cutting room floor. What the hell. I don’t know what they were thinking making this film.

Just to be clear on how bad I think this film was… Recently I’ve gone on about how much I hated Paranormal Activity 2 and The Human Centipede. Despite my hatred I still gave them both 3/10. That’s because I leave the 2s and 1s for films like Arthur.

I think it’s worth telling you this. As a warning I guess. When I was driving home after seeing this last night, I had a few blissful minutes where I had forgotten where I’d been earlier. Then the horror came flooding back.

Don’t go to this film. You will regret it.



  1. comment-avatar
    AuriApril 24, 2011 - 8:26 pm

    Phew! I was undecided between watching Arthur and Source Code yesterday, glad I skipped this one 🙂

  2. comment-avatar
    Nicola-tApril 25, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Yeah… urgh. Though, I would like to hear what other people think of it 😉 What did you think of Source Code in the end?

  3. comment-avatar
    RodneyApril 28, 2011 - 11:51 am

    Yet another reason for Hollywood not to remake classic films. When they fail, they fail big.

    Thanks for helping me convince the wife NOT to go see it!

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