Originally posted at PopBunker.net.
Director: Steve Gordon / Writer: Steve Gordon / Stars: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, and John Gielgud
Synopsis from IMDB: Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan. He does not love Susan, but she will make something of him the family expects. Arthur proposes but then meets a girl with no money who he could easily fall in love with.
When I heard about the 2011 remake of the 1981 Arthur, it was a reminder to be me of being a kid from a poor family in a small Midwestern town in awe of the lifestyle where a guy could be so rich that they were free to stumble in and out of high-dollar public venues acting like a fool, making jokes that only he found funny, and more or less insult everyone he came across. I’m not sure I ever actually saw the movie all the way through as a kid, or even picked up on the fact that it was a romantic comedy. I always saw it as more of a jokester-type Caddyshack sort of movie than a quirky romantic Mannequin-type movie. And somehow, when I recently re-watched the movie—or watched it all the way through for the first time, rather—I was surprised to find that I thought it was far funnier when I was a kid than I do now.
True to its 1980s sensibilities, this movie never once seems to stop and question any of these types of issues as Arthur plods down his entitled path. The basic premise is that if he doesn’t marry the aristocratic woman his family wants him to marry, he won’t be entitled to receive the vast liquor and prostitute fund inheritance he’s expecting. Unfortunately, he’s not “in love” with Susan, and so he feels that he’s in a bit of a quandary. He serendipitously happens upon Linda (Liza Minelli) as she’s stealing a tie from a high-end fashion store, and he once again shows how magnanimous a rich white man he is by landing a big kiss on her in public, thereby saving her from the store security. (Lesson: it’s okay to steal if someone rich wants to touch you inappropriately.) He goes on to court Linda in a way only a man with unlimited coffers can do, only to find it necessary to work out the issue of not marrying the right woman and still having the money to live with no sense of responsibility or accountability. As always, I’ll try to not spoil the ending for you. (He gets the girl and the money.)