How to enjoy “Arthur” in 5 easy steps

Anyone seen my career?

It’s kind of been a sport to skewer Russel Brand’s remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore hit Arthur.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie scores a 27-percent rating among professional critics. David Edelstein of the New York Post wrote that “Russell Brand gives a career-killing performance.” Really? He does know we’re talking about Russell Brand, not Russell Crowe, right?

But don’t let bad press deter you. You can enjoy this film. Here are five steps to show you how.

Step 1: Lower Your Expectations. This is a romantic comedy. It’s not Fight Club, nor The Hangover. This is a story about a drunk Peter Pan growing up. Treat it more like a Disney cartoon and less like an indie art film and you’ll do just fine.

Step 2: Know Little or Nothing About the Original. I’ve never seen the original, so this part is easy. If you have seen the original, suspend the desire to compare. The two films exist 30 years apart; allow a little interpretive freedom, please.

Step 3: Enjoy the little things. Don’t wait for the sight gags. The humor in this film is more smirk and eye-roll, less knee-slap and belly clinch. The dialogue interplay and Brand’s throw-away remarks are where you’ll find the most … uhm … humor, if you want to call it that.

Step 4: Forgive the Outfits. I’m sorry, but Greta Gerwig’s outfits almost ruined the movie for me. I haven’t seen pants that high-waisted since the 1980s Mom jean.

Step 5: Be patient. The movie runs about 20 minutes too long. Near the end, there will be the temptation to goad the movie to its inevitable conclusion. Just be patient. Finish off your popcorn. Make sure all of your trash is cleaned up. Check your e-mail. The good thing about the film is that it builds in this time, so that when it’s over, you are ready to go.

There you have it. These steps will help you not only get through the movie, but should help increase your enjoyment. If you follow them well, you won’t leave the theater thinking you wasted your time.

Let me know how the steps work for you.


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