Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988)
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Bud Yorkin handles the direction excellently, and the movie contains a magical back drop of Christmas time New York. Dudley is again funny and like-able, just as he was in Arthur, allthough both the Actor and the Character have matured. Liza Minelli is again kookie as Linda, allthough she plays the role like the preceeding seven years took place within a week. Nothing changes with her performance and one is greatful. One really feels for Arthur and Linda, as they struggle with the fact of first not being able to have children, and secondly being destitute. Without spoiling the movie for those who have not seen it, there is a happy ending. Burt Bacharach's score is again heartbreaking and wonderful and the title song sung by Chris De Burgh is as good as the Chris Cross original. And finally Sir John Gielguid makes a heart breaking and beautifull return as an Obi Wan Kenobi like Hobson. A christams ghost if you will.
A Beatifull film. One ready for re-evaluation. Lets raise our glasses to Arthur and Linda.
Of course, I haven't seen the original Oscar-winning "Arthur" (1981), which may be a part of the reason I enjoyed the first half of "Arthur 2" (1988). I still remember when I first saw "The Fly"--I had read all the positive reviews, I was really pumped up and after the credits started to roll I just sort of sat back and let out a sigh. But I had already seen its sequel, aptly named "The Fly II," and I had enjoyed it. Why? Because prior expectations can truly ruin a great movie. If I had gone into "The Fly" expecting nothing, I probably would have come out of it satisfied. But, in hindsight, I expected too much. And I hadn't expected anything going into "The Fly II," which may amount to why I prefer it to the first film, despite its goofy nature and campy effects.
Maybe that's why "Arthur 2: On the Rocks" didn't seem so bad when I watched it. I didn't find a single positive review of the film on the Internet. IMDb's average user rating is currently 3.6, and a year ago it was lower. Rotten Tomatoes' rating is 0%, with not a single positive thing to say. And I can understand why people might not like this movie, but if they think it's one of the worst films of all time...they've got another thing coming.
Arthur and his wife, Linda (Liza Minneli), are living freely. They own five homes in and around New York City, and Arthur's only worry in life is that he may get some. Linda, on the other hand, has a single worry: she can't have children, and she wants some. So they visit an adoption agency downtown, run by Mrs. Canby (Kathy Bates), who promises she'll do her best to fix them up with a kid. Joy!
But then Burt Johnson (Stephen Elliot) buys out Arthur's family company, promising to sell out if Arthur is cut off from the family fortune -- all 750,000,000 dollars. Johnson's scheming is because he wants his daughter, Susan (Cynthia Sikes), to be happy -- and she still wants to marry Arthur. If Arthur divorces his true love, Linda, and marries Johnson's snobby daughter, he can get his money back. But soon Arthur learns that money isn't the most important thing in life.
This is an interesting premise, of course, but the fact that the entire character of Arthur is one built upon the sole theory that there's nothing to worry about in life is contradictory. If "Arthur" were a television show, it would have been a decent half hour of laughs to see him hit the streets in an attempt to sober up. But as a 107-minute film, "Arthur 2's" premise just isn't "Arthur," as far as I can tell. At the end, Arthur cleans up and gets sober, and -- without spoiling how -- wins the day (like there were any doubts as to whether that would happen). But the lasting image of a sober Arthur is far from the central idea of the character in the first place.
And I must complain about something else I noticed -- something more disturbing than anything else in the film. At the very end, Kathy Bates delivers an adopted baby to the couple as they reunite on the street, only for Linda to announce on the spot that she's pregnant. Wouldn't Mrs. Canby (Bates) take the baby back and give her (the baby, that is) to a couple that can't have children? No, she just smiles and stands back from the scene. This is an example of poor scriptwriting.
"Arthur 2: On the Rocks" is a hilarious film in its first half, and a bumbling message-driven snoozer in its second. If only all comedies could sustain laughs at a steady pace throughout. I can't necessarily say that "Arthur 2" is a very bad movie, but I can't necessarily say I can recommend it, either.
- John Ulmer
Moore's character, Arthur Bach, has made a stand and been cut off from his fortune. Indeed, his malevolent father-in-law-elect has cut him off from everything. He's unemployable, destitute and on the street.
Never having worked, he desperately attempts to secure the most menial occupation, but each time those obdurate relatives put their boot in. At one stage he is cleaning windscreens at traffic lights and finally sleeping in a hostel for the homeless.
Gielgud, as his ever-supportive butler Hobson - who died at the end of the first movie - makes cameo reappearances in ghostly form. Bach is depicted as walking and talking with him. He is only visible to Bach, who resembles any other alcoholic lost-cause conversing with invisible familiars.
This movie is darker than the first, which was more a celebration of the wealthy, drunken, playboy lifestyle. Here, he is coming to terms with his demons, in the bottle and elsewhere. At one point he elects to visit his socialite would-be wife and resolve their dilemma once and for all. But by then he has become so shabby and neglected that the doorman will not allow him entry. There is conversation: The doorman asks, 'Is she a friend of yours, sir?' Before Arthur can reply, invisible Hobson observes; 'That's a very good question, isn't it Arthur? Cuts right to the heart of the matter.'
Perhaps inevitably,there is less comedy in this movie and sometimes what there is is slightly strained. Arthur's rehabilitation pulls less laughs than his drunkenness. Even so, there's plenty of funny moments, and a fairy-book happy-ending.
Still worth a watch because the thoughtful elements make for a more in-depth character evaluation, but the first movie is the one for hilarious comedy.
There were some very funny lines in the film and it was nice seeing the cast re-unite, but for some reason the original Susan who was played by
Jill Eikenberry was replaced by Cynthia Sikes, who looks very different than Jill. Anyone know why the change?
Do I recommend anyone seeing this film? Only if you really enjoyed the first film otherwise you're not going to really be able to get into "Arthur 2".
I saw this the other day again on a big screen and I stayed amused almost constantly. I don't know if this is a British thing but this is a very funny film.
I don't feel the need to explain the plot as you should know what it's about already from reading the synopsis here. The main positive of the film is the comedy.
Not only is it hugely entertaining, it is also quite touching so it's definitely a good film to watch with a partner. The negatives are the hammish acting in places which don't match up to the great comedy. The plot development obviously isn't the greatest either and it starts off fairly badly too in the opening scene where Dudley is not at his absolute best. The main flow of the film is still believable enough or it wouldn't work at all as such an endearing film.
The UK DVD is not available so I saw the R1 US version.
Moore's gags are as sharp as ever and you still cant help but fall for oddball arthur. All in all i feel "on the rocks" is a very moving film indeed.
This is a pretty disappointing follow-up to such a crowd pleasing film. On a positive note I don't think it's nearly as bad as the 4.0 rating may indicate. It's never boring, and managed to keep my attention throughout. It just lacks the original's flamboyance, and flavor. Everything in this movie feels contrived. Arthur doesn't quite feel like Arthur, with an opening drunk scene that infuriated me. It ignored all the changes Arthur made in the original. Yes. His character goes through many changes, but I was still angry at that opening scene. It even goes as far to make Arthur homeless, which was really stretching it in my opinion. It became an excuse in my opinion for John Gieglund to make a cameo as a ghost (Hobson) It was great to see the cameo, but all it did was remind me of this sequel's inferiority to the original. I also balked at the notion that Burt Johnson would go to those lengths, just to get revenge. It became overly silly. It felt like they were scrambling for material at times, just to make a quick buck. Dudley Moore's charm isn't as potent as it was in the original. It's not his fault, but he doesn't have much to work with. He simply can't perform the emotional tasks that this film called for. I also didn't like the direction of his character in the first half. Liza Minelli got a razzie for her performance. While, I wouldn't say she was that bad, she definitely wasn't that great. Paul Benedict makes for a dull butler as Fairchild. I kept pining for Hobson. Kathy Bates has a small role, pre-fame. They also replaced the original Susan
Final Thoughts: I did criticize it quite a bit, but that's because the original was quite good. This was much better than I expected, but disappointing, considering what it should have been. It's much too artificial
The premise of a man being forced to fend for himself after a lifetime of privilege is vastly more interesting to that of a drunken playboy and the film, for the most part, rises to this. The ensemble performances are much stronger than in the first film which relied heavily on acerbic one liners and Dudley's comedy drunk routine. Here the interaction between Minelli and Moore is more fleshed out and is delightful. It reminded me somewhat of Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park. The comedy throughout is more subtle and more satisfying than the original.
Unfortunately certain cartoon elements from the first film are introduced. Moore's previously innocent ex-girlfriend turns up as a Cruella Deville character before strangely reverting to her former self at the end. And her father hounding Moore wherever he goes is rather silly, it makes him seem like Gargamel. The denouement is especially feeble, with the sudden unexplained character change just mentioned and suddenly every-thing's alright. This terrible finale is the reason I cannot give this a higher mark, although I do consider it a genuine improvement on Arthur 1.
It is a pity that this, even more than the original did not follow the courage of its convictions and end with him being poor but following his heart. Now that would be a lesson worth learning.
Since we last saw Arthur (Moore) he was on the verge of an arranged marriage to socialite Susan Johnson (Sikes) however he chose to marry his true love and keep his money.It's a few years later Arthur & his lovely wife Linda (Minnelli) are as happy as ever. When it's discovered that Linda can't have children they plan to adopt with the help of Mrs. Canby (Bates) an adoption worker. However a dark cloud soon comes around.
Burt Johnson (Elliott) has seized control of the Bach company and as part of a revenge scheme forces Arthur's family to cut him off financially unless he divorces his wife and marries Susan. This film had taken a serious turn for Arthur as he finally decided to sober up and fight back to get his family and what belongs to him. I won't spoil the ending all I can tell you is that it's a happy one.
Ironically, "Golden Girls" featured two appearances by the legendary Geraldine Fitzgerald, repeating her role here as Arthur's matronly grandmother, and also getting more to do. Liza takes on an interesting comparison to her own life, playing a woman unable to have her own child, and trying to find a baby to adopt. The main plot about Arthur's ex-fiancée's father going out of his way to bankrupt him in revenge is the only weak point, but that is overshadowed by the heart and soul of Moore and Minnelli's romance. So give this one a chance. You may not come out of it singing about the moon and New York City, but you won't be declaring it "Ishtar" either.
I'm not going to give you the plot other than they really had to find a way to get Arthur back on the wagon, then off then find the new step to "growing up." This is the point of the first one. In this one, it does become the next logical step. HOWEVER, digging deep for a villain, we're re-introduced to a familiar family. The Johnsons. Who, after over 5 years, still dwell on the pain which is Arthur escaping their clutches. I will never understand then (from the 1st Arthur) from this one, why they chose the most beautiful WASPy girl, clear beauty queens to fawn over Dudley Moore, other than it makes for good comedy (or a better contrast to Minelli). But I felt they swung a little too far having Cynthia Sikes be enamored with the over- aged, too short Moore, who offers, nothing to the table. I can see that this is a dilemma to most people. The original story wasn't about his relationship to Minelli. It actually was about him and Gielgud. A man-child who finally confronts serious issues and grows up. There is no sequel here. Other then for money people to break him down again, to build him back up, to use in name only "Arthur."
You know a movie is in trouble when you rely on ghosts of movies past to present exposition.
Anyway, they really missed the boat (if they really wanted to make a sequel). This was a cheerless unhappy viewing of a train wreck. What a shame.
While Minelli and Moore have a great chemistry, the movie itself is boring. What was somewhat cute in the first film is simply tiring and obnoxious the second time around.