Arthur Parent Guide
The film's ending seems just a little too glossy and sanitized for a man who has devoted his entire adulthood to liquor and promiscuity.
Parent Movie Review
In 1981, Dudley Moore played a cackling, inebriated playboy who spent his time entertaining prostitutes. Thirty years later, another English actor, Russell Brand, resurrects the role of Arthur Bach, with some modern updates to the script.
Arthur, the son of a wealthy, old money businesswoman (Geraldine James), may be of legal drinking age but he’s hardly mature enough to handle his liquor. Living in a New York penthouse with his nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) and his chauffeur Bitterman (Luis Guzmán), the pampered socialite spends most of his waking hours under the influence of alcohol. He also spends oodles of money on sex trade workers, wild parties and automobiles. (He owns an entire fleet of movie cars including the Batmobile, Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Van, the time traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future and the Dukes of Hazzard‘s orange "General Lee.")
Unfortunately his drunken antics often end up in the news, making for wary investors who fear what will happen when the Bach heir takes over the family business. To alleviate these financial worries, Arthur’s mother Vivienne proposes a merger that is as cold and calculating as her parenting style. Arthur is given an ultimatum—marry Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner) or lose his inheritance.
Though Arthur has shared a bed with his mother’s choice of a bride, he’s not very fond of her and the idea of marriage doesn’t really appeal to him either. However, the alternative—being penniless—is even less desirable and so he agrees to the union—at least until he meets Naomi (Greta Gerwig).
Earning extra cash by conducting unlicensed tours of New York City landmarks, Naomi is sweet to a fault. Living next to the tracks with her widowed father, she has ambitions to write a book but no funds to publish it. Arthur is smitten with her innocence (and likely her short, short skirts).
Faced with a dilemma of monetary proportions, Arthur does what Arthur does. He turns to the bottle. As in the original film, alcoholism remains the central issue but the depiction of the problem doesnt seem to be as socially benign as it might have been three decades ago. Although intoxication is played for comedy (something that seems easier to do when the tippler is fabulously rich), the script avoids looking at the dark and desperate circumstances most men with Arthur’s addiction would find themselves in. Arthur’s insobriety also becomes an excuse for crude and irreverent jokes about homosexuals, male anatomy and Christian Deity. Swinging between moments of drunken incompetence and deep philosophical insights, Arthur might be tolerable in small doses. But he quickly becomes tiresome as a hero who relies on others to take care of him and refuses, for most of the movie, to accept any responsibility for the choices he’s made in life.
While Arthur eventually acknowledges his drinking problem, the film’s ending seems just a little too glossy and sanitized for a man who has devoted his entire adulthood to liquor and promiscuity.Directed by Jason Winer . Starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release April 8, 2011. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Arthur rated PG-13? Arthur is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language and some drug references.
Violence: A man irresponsibly shoots a nail gun and impales another character with several framing nails (some blood is shown). A contractor threatens a man by forcing him to touch a rotating saw blade with his tongue. Characters are involved in high-speed chases with police, cause property damage, exchange punches, are whipped, fall down stairs and suffer a bloody lip. A character grabs at a man’s groin while hoisting him on a horse. A character dies.
Sexual Content: Much of the script revolves around discussions of Arthur’s past sexual escapades with comments about prostitutes and other sexual adventures. Brief jokes are made about homosexuals, pregnancy, rape and male anatomy. A man’s bare crotch is covered with digitalized pixels. A couple is caught in bed together. A man and woman are seen in suggestive poses in pictures. A man is counseled to marry, but cheat with another woman. A man is seen in his underwear on several occasions. Women wear sexually provocative or revealing clothing.
Language: The script includes crude references to male anatomy, racial comments, rude sexual name-calling, frequent profanities and terms of Deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Alcohol is consumed throughout the movie for comedic purposes. A character frequently appears to be under the influence of liquor. References to illegal drugs are also made.
Other: The script contains an irreligious joke about Christ’s crucifixion.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Arthur after the break...
Arthur Parents' Guide
In the film, Susan’s father forces Arthur to touch a whirring blade on a table saw. Although a new product, Saw Stop, senses flesh and stops the blade, viewers should be aware that it is not common on every machine. Extreme caution should be used when using any construction tools. Read the company’s comments about their product’s appearance in the film.
What childhood tragedies has Arthur experienced? Do those circumstances justify his adult behavior? Has Hobson contributed to his inability to function as an adult?
What attitude does this movie have toward rich people? Why are wealthy individuals often negatively portrayed in film? Do world situations, such as the recent recession, make Arthur’s character less sympathetic than he may have been otherwise?
The most recent home video release of Arthur movie is July 15, 2011. Here are some details…
Arthur is releasing to DVD and Blu-ray on July 15, 2011. Bonus extras include:
- Arthur Unsupervised
- Additional Scenes
- Gag Reel
Related home video titles:
In some of his tamer roles, Brand plays a sleep-deprived hotel employee in Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories, and voices the character of Dr. Nefario in Despicable Me. Two young brothers find ways to share their newfound wealth after they stumble upon bags of money in Millions.