*½/**** Image B Sound A- Extras C-
starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner
screenplay by Peter Baynham, based on the film Arthur written and directed by Steve Gordon
directed by Jason Winer
by Ian Pugh Boy, that Russell Brand sure does talk a lot, doesn't he? Jason Winer's modernization of Steve Gordon's 1981 comedy Arthur serves as your latest reminder that Brand is turning his long-winded rambling into a full-blown comic empire--and it's a good thing it makes that point perfectly clear, because otherwise I can't think of any reason why this remake exists. Brand's slurring motormouth is on full display here, and he's such a suffocating presence that Arthur Bach's now-famous inebriety hardly plays a role. Who needs booze when you've got an immature dude who just won't shut up? Of course, the character is still nominally an alcoholic--and the film attempts to "fix" that problem in precisely the wrong way. Fearing it will be seen as an implicit endorsement of excessive drinking, Arthur launches into an overwritten screed about the attendant dangers of same, somehow assuming that Gordon's original didn't comprehend the seriousness of its own premise. Between that mistaken belief and its broad, bland humour, the picture might be more accurately considered a remake of the notorious Arthur 2: On the Rocks.