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Arthur

Director:  Jason Winer
Year Released:  2011
Rating:  2.0

Alcoholic man-child Arthur (Russell Brand playing "Russell Brand") has to choose between marrying a ladder-climbing creep (Jennifer Garner, trying too hard) and keeping his ungodly inheritance or ditching her and his wealth and settling with a polite young lady from Queens (Greta Gerwig) and having to actually work for a living. Brand's manic (and tiring) shtick seems to have turned this into 2011's major flops, but I found there's some fun to be had in the banter between him and his nanny (Helen Mirren): there are several witty lines in the script, and the notion of a billionaire abusing his wealth and power gives me a minor hedonistic thrill (it helps that Brand is inherently playful: it makes his political ignorance tolerable). The ending, naturally, is a cop-out: he keeps his trust fund and wins back the lady, but what I really wanted to see was him become a kindergarten teacher and settling down in oh, say, Astoria with his meager teacher's salary. Target audiences wouldn't have approved, but who cares?

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