Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan. He does not love Susan, but she ... See full summary »
Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan. He does not love Susan, but she will make something of him the family expects. Arthur proposes but then meets a girl with no money who he could easily fall in love with. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Written and directed by Steve Gordon. Running time: 97 minutes. Classified PG.
It was the quintessential comedy of the decade. It won Sir John Gielgud the Academy Award. It was even featured in VH1's "I Love the 80's." And it looks just as good today as it did upon it's initial release. Arthur is the acclaimed comedy classic about a drunken millionaire (played with enthusiasm and wit by Dudley Moore in an Oscar-nominated performance) who must choose between the woman he loves and the life he's grown accustomed to. While the basic plot is one big cliche, there's nothing trite about this congenial combination of clever dialogue and hilarious farce. Arthur Bach is essentially nothing more than a pretentious jerk, but you can't help but like him. Especially when he delivers lines such as, "Don't you wish you were me? I know I do!" He's also a delineation from the archetypical movie hero: unlike most wealthy characters we see on the silver screen, he's not ashamed of being filthy rich. In one scene, a man asks him, "What does it feel like to have all that money?," to which he responds, "It feels great." Moore lends such charisma and charm to a character that would otherwise be loathed by his audience. And Gielgud is simply perfect as the arrogant servant, addressing his master with extreme condescension in spite of the fact that his salary depends on him. Arthur is one of those movies that doesn't try to be brilliant or particularly exceptional: it just comes naturally. The screenplay -- which also earned a nod from the Academy -- is saturated with authentic laugh-out-loud dialogue. This is the kind of movie that, when together with a bunch of poker buddies, you quote endlessly to one another. It also looks at its characters with sincere empathy. There have been a number of comedies that attempt to dip into drama by including the death or illness of a principal star (including both Grumpy Old Men's), but few can carry it off because we just don't care. When this movie makes the dubious decision to knock off the butler, it actually works, because we genuinely like these people. Why should you see Arthur? The answer is simple: because it's an all-around, non-guilty pleasure. At a period in which films are becoming more and more serious, Arthur reminds us what it feels like to go to the movies and just have a good time.
**** - Classic
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