I went into Arthur expecting to laugh and have a good time, but I did not realize going in how much I would be rewarded by the movie. It was undoubtedly one of my favorites in the last few years, and will be infinitely quoted far after it stops being funny to do so.
Arthur is the story of a completely spoiled man-child who lives his life completely irresponsibly, squandering his corporate inheritance in joyous fashion. His good times are interrupted by his mother, who insists that he marry a woman who he doesn’t love, so that she can run the company instead of him. His distaste for this proposal is amplified by his meeting with a quirky woman who makes him feel like bettering himself for the first time. As a result, Arthur needs to choose between being cut off from his money because of his new love, or marrying and retaining his lifestyle.
This movie was simply hilarious. Arthur’s ridiculous escapades are a joy to tag along with, as they mount in absurdity and excess. Almost every single line elicited a laugh from me, because of the animated performances of the actors and the absurdity of their adventures.
There is a nice balance of visual humor and wordplay that exists in this movie that keeps things fresh and engaging. My personal favorite aspect with the movie was Arthur’s fascination with buying completely stupid things and deliberately paying too much money for them, just because he could. I’ve got a good blueprint for how to live an eccentric life now.
And you know what? I almost cried at the end as Arthur searches for purpose and happiness. And I don’t hardly ever do that. Most of the time.
Russell Brand really surprised me. I knew he had some charisma, after he played a completely likable jerk in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But I was blown away by the emotional depth that he displayed, and the ability to get a good laugh out of people in a fairly clean way (for him). His performance was a dizzying combination of Jack Sparrow and Michael Jackson (run with it), and he managed to perfectly walk the line between eccentricity and childishness.
The other truly bright note was Helen Mirren. I have been amazed by her comedy ability after seeing this and Red. Who would have thought that a woman with such dignity and gravitas could get so many laughs from an audience with every quip? One thing is for sure- she is an awesome actress. She was perfect as Arthur’s long suffering nanny/ mother surrogate.
Put simply, Arthur is delightful. It’s been a long time that I laughed consistently through the movie, and felt so good afterward. Underneath the ridiculousness, there is a warm story about changing your heart and finding meaning in life.