Russell Brand is stepping into big shoes with his performance of Arthur Bach, drunk extraordinaire, in the upcoming remake of the classic movie, “Arthur.” A role made famous by the delightful Dudley Moore who made being rich and drunk look so good and enviable when so many people on Wall Street made being rich look so bad. So, does Russell Brand have what it takes to be as charming, rich, and drunk as the original Arthur?
Russell Brand has established that he can play an over the top, drunken, party person as his character in “Get Him to the Greek” demonstrated. But does he have the ability to do it with class and style as Dudley Moore demonstrated? Dudley Moore’s character, Arthur, set the bar for future drunks to be measured against. And this is not an easy bar to reach; Dudley Moore with his charming demeanor made drunkenness look good. And in the 1980s, when living life to the excess was considered in vogue, Moore did this while at the same time winning his audience over.
So, how can you not like a small in stature, tanked-up, British actor who just wants to make you laugh? You can’t! This is why this movie was such a success. Dudley Moore’s portrayal of Arthur Bach was done with such sharp wit, well placed physical humor, and delightful sarcasm that despite all of Arthur’s on screen human flaws, the audience rooted for him because we were charmed by this drunken man.
Fast forward to the Great Recession and Russell Brand’s take on Arthur Bach. Will movie going audience’s find rich, pampered, bachelor’s funny again? In an era of chronic high unemployment, layoffs, and overall hard times this is a tough movie to remake and release. Audiences may not want to see a rich guy having to struggle with maturity when so many audience members are struggling just to pay their own bills.
Remaking a classic movie like this is easy. Remaking a classic movie like this and getting it right, is hard. The previews for this movie do not look good. It appears that the director, Jason Winer, has decided to go more with high school humor than sharp satire and educated humor; crotch grabs, car props and juvenile lines like “wash your winky” are not funny to adults.
Despite such poor looking previews, this movie does have one thing going for it and of course that is Russell Brand. No matter how many poorly written lines have to be said, bad skits acted out, and school boy antics have to be performed in this movie. Russell Brand does have the natural on screen charisma to make them look good, but only to an extent. Russell Brand will attract an audience to this movie not for his acting skills, but because of his natural good looks and boyish charm. However, unlike other good looking leading men, Russell Brand is a dish best served in small doses. Remember, looking good on screen has never enough to win an audience over, just ask Orlando Bloom.