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Stars: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner, Geraldine James, Nick Nolte, Luis Guzmán

Director: Jason Winer

We've met Arthur before, but he was a lot more fun then. Dudley Moore created the permanently sozzled but lovable billionaire back in 1980 (and was nominated for an Oscar). Brand, who takes over the role here, can be raspingly funny. But he doesn't do lovable. Or, for that matter, even likeable.

The plot (though the story never sweeps us along with it) is much the same, with a few gender twists. Arthur's hedonistic life is brought to an abrupt halt at 30 when his mother (James) demands that he marries rich bitch Susan (Garner, miscast), but Arthur falls for penniless tour guide Naomi (Gerwig) 'cos she has a sunny smile, wears short skirts, socks and a hat, and writes appalling children's stories about the Statue of Liberty being friends with the Eiffel Tower.

In one of the gender switches, Mirren, who unusually doesn't seem quite sure how to approach her role, plays the ex-nanny who still looks after Arthur; the memory of John Gielgud's disdainful, Oscar-winning retainer in the original is too strong, in any case, to allow her to make much impact.

It's easy to come down on this much inferior remake of the often side-splitting original, but there are a few funny moments here and there to lighten our embarrassment at watching the players struggle. The moment Brand tells James 'I remember you. I was in your womb', however, isn't one of them.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
110 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 17 Apr 2011