Arthur

  • Review Date: March 31, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Remake of classic romcom has little punch, lots of alcohol.
  • Review Date: March 31, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ultimately the movie's message is that money can't buy you happiness or love, and you can't get true love without growing up and cleaning up your act. That said, Arthur does start out by agreeing to marry a woman he doesn't love (or even like) just so he can keep his inheritance and wildly spend it on frivolous things. And, of course, there's his frequent drinking -- which, while not exactly glamorized, doesn't have particularly harsh consequences, either.

Positive role models

Yes, Arthur is a drunk. But he has a big heart and tries to show the people he cares for how much he appreciates them. And Naomi is really pure in spirit, teaching Arthur how to be comfortable with himself without resorting to the drink. Arthur's mother, however, can't seem to stand him; there's a softening toward the end, but she's still frosty.

Violence

Arthur is manhandled by a woman. He’s also threatened with a table saw.

Sex

Lots of innuendo-laden talk. Early in the movie, Arthur is caught in bed with a barely dressed woman. Couples kiss, and one woman shows up at a man’s doorstep clad only in lingerie and an overcoat. A woman is shown astride a man (no body parts are shown). A man parades around the city in his knickers; he also strips down to them in a church. Jokes about body parts.

Language

Mostly "bloody," "hell," "bugger," and "prick," though there are also a couple of uses of "s--t," plus "t-tties," "oh my God," and "goddamn."

Consumerism

Brands include Maker's Mark (prominently), Sony, Jelly Belly, and Dylan's Candy Bar.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character is always soused (champagne, hard liquor, etc.); though he tries to attend an AA meeting at one point, he makes fun of it. He's also shown smoking a hookah.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this remake of the popular '80s comedy is occasionally funny and at times even oddly touching, it's also raunchy and not as memorable as the movie it was based on. Given that the main character, Arthur (Russell Brand), is an often-tipsy millionaire, expect plenty of scenes with him swigging from a bottle, glass, or flask. While there aren't many strongly negative consequences for his drinking, it's not portrayed in a particularly glamorous fashion, either, and he ultimately has to learn how to be comfortable with himself without the booze in order to attain his heart's desire. Expect plenty of sexual innuendo and some lingerie scenes, though no nudity. There's some swearing, too, including "s--t," "bugger," and "bloody."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Multimillionaire Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) is drinking through his family’s money, content to fritter his days away swigging champagne and Maker’s Mark and cooking up schemes like arriving at his mother’s formal party dressed in a Batman costume. Even his companion/nanny, Hobson (Helen Mirren), is urging him to get his act together. Fed up with Arthur's antics, his icy, business-minded mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James), gives him an ultimatum: Marry Susan (Jennifer Garner), Vivienne’s ambitious right-hand woman who’s hungry for the Bach name and all of the power that comes with it, so Arthur will seem more stable to shareholders, or lose nearly a billion dollars of his inheritance. Arthur thinks the choice is easy -- go with the money -- until he meets quirky, unlicensed tour operator Naomi (Greta Gerwig), who offers nothing but a chance at love.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Though no one will be talking about how this version of ARTHUR has supplanted the Dudley Moore classic, it’s not as big of a train-wreck as it could have been. For starters, it retains the original’s sweet center, albeit with a lot more schmaltz (not to mention strains of the cheesy but nostalgically appealing Christopher Cross theme song). And though Brand is no Moore, he has his own gentle-giant charm that makes his irresponsible alcoholic still somewhat appealing. What makes it work best, though, is Brand's easy chemistry with Mirren. It’s astounding how plain the stunning Mirren can become, and she steps into those practical nanny shoes nicely. She’s the mother he never quite had; he, her unruly child surrogate.

Still, this Arthur has no edge (profane innuendoes aren’t substitutes for edge). It doesn’t break any conventions; it doesn’t make you think. It is pretty funny in parts, but it's an unclever kind of funny. And what of New York, which the original did showcase? It’s not seductive here, but rather a pastiche of NYC greatest hits that renders the city soul-less, no longer caught near the moon. It’s just another romcom now.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's central message. Does love trump money? Can they co-exist? Or is it impractical to think that you can live happily ever after without being able to afford "happily ever after"?

  • Talk to your teens about how the film portrays drinking. Does it seem fun or iffy? How does the movie imply that? What would some of the consequences for Arthur's behavior be in real life?

  • How might the movie be different if Arthur used drugs instead of drinking? Why is one "worse" than the other?

  • Ask kids what they think their lives would be like if they were raised like Arthur, in a mega-rich environment without responsibilities. What messages does this film send about immense wealth?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 8, 2011
DVD release date:July 15, 2011
Cast:Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Russell Brand
Director:Jason Winer
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Comedy
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language and some drug references

This review of Arthur was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byliv laf luv April 22, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Mature?

I really did enjoy this movie. I went with a few of my more mature(?) friends and it was very funny. Though I do agree this movie is 14+, there are a majority of younger viewers who are ready to laugh along with the older crowd. Overall a good movie, I plan on seeing it with another friend when it is released on DVD!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old February 22, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Arthur

I think Arthur is the BEST movie in the whole world of dominations!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byTerraRocks May 2, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Depends on how you put it

Russel Brand was the perfect role. He played a playboy, and did a great job. It did imply at times where he made love with some girls. He drank a lot and he is drunk at the begining of the movie. I noticed also he was willing to have his mom take away his money so he could be with the other girl. So, that was a postive. :)
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages

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