What can you say about Jason Winer’s 2011 remake of Arthur? Well, it’s a film. It’s not in any way funny but it is definitely a film. I have a theory, this is it. The recent cinema release Rise of the Planet of the Apes is actually based on a true story, the apes do rise up but are quite swiftly kicked back into place by a crack team of Tottenham thugs. Unfortunately, our band of anti-heroes don’t react in time to stop the simian screenwriters from penning, producing and directing the shitflinging epic that is Arthur.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, or with Dudley Moore’s 1981 original, the film centres around Arthur Bach, played this time around by Russell Brand. Bach’s a wealthy alcoholic playboy who has a penchant for getting himself in trouble and dragging down the family name. His Mother threatens to cut off Arthur unless he marries her assistant Susan (Jennifer Garner), for the purpose of protecting the future of the family business. Of course, whilst on a typically booze-fuelled caper, Arthur falls in love with another woman (played by Greta Gerwig) and refuses to accept his Mother’s ultimatum. Hilarity ensues.
Or not. Comedies only work if they gags, perhaps one or two funny set-pieces. There is a massive humour vacuum in this production. Perhaps it might appeal to that most valuable of marketing groups 10-11 year olds. I must admit, when I was that age I found the original funny. Don’t get me wrong, Brand plays the part well but doesn’t have a lot to work with. A comedian of his calibre must have been paid well to at no point have chirped up and pointed out that it’s just not funny. Arthur’s released on DVD & Blu-Ray on the 19th of September. You have been warned, avoid it like Tottenham High Street.