Russell Brand’s drunken, druggy past served him well in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, where he basically played himself. So he was a natural choice for this remake of Dudley Moore’s 1981 hit about a drunken libertine forced to change his lifestyle to avoid losing an inheritance.
A surprising level of creativity has gone into this remodel. Rather than trying to recast John Gielgud’s acerbic valet, this Arthur cleverly uses the excellent Helen Mirren as Arthur’s tart but loyal nanny. In another smart departure, the ineffably charming Greta Gerwig (Greenberg) plays the quirky, working-class love interest of Arthur, whose tycoon mother (Geraldine James) is forcing him to marry a rapacious heiress (Jennifer Garner).
The script is fairly nimble, with a good deal of Brand’s characteristic verbal wit, so it’s easy to forgive the broad physical humor and the fact that, unlike the short and cuddly Dudley, Brand’s angular dishevelment makes him a rather unlikely object of affection. --Pamela Zoslov