Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5. USA, 2011. Warner Bros., Morra, Brezner, Steinberg and Tenenbaum Entertainment, BenderSpink, K/O Camera Toys, Langley Park Productions. Story by Steve Gordon, Screenplay by Peter Baynham. Cinematography by Uta Briesewitz. Produced by Chris Bender, Larry Brezner, Kevin McCormick, Michael Tadross. Music by Theodore Shapiro. Production Design by Sarah Knowles. Costume Design by Juliet Polcsa. Film Editing by Brent White.
Remaking the classic Dudley Moore comedy with yet another fun, lovable rascal in the lead seemed like such a good idea at the time. The Bach family has been in possession of their multi-billion-dollar media empire for generations, and if it is going to stay in the family name, all hope rests upon one sole heir: irresponsible, alcoholic and immature Arthur (Russell Brand), who spends all day finding frivolous ways to spend his dollars while constantly having his nanny (Helen Mirren filling in for John Gielgud) picking up after him. His mother (Geraldine James), exasperated with his imbecility, tells him he must marry psychotic socialite Jennifer Garner if he does not want to be cut off from the family fortune. He agrees, but things get dicey when he meets a quirky New York City tour guide (Greta Gerwig) who captures his fancy instead. There really is the possibility of making something as fun as the original, except that the personalities have been cranked up to the unbearably shrill degree here: Brand is a terrible actor and never knows when to give his tics a rest, while Gerwig has no idea where the line is between oddball and mentally deranged. Mirren provides the film’s only graceful moments with her deliciously deadpan delivery (“He’s only shaped like an adult”) but even someone as powerful as her can’t save this mess.