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Arthur is a 2011 American romantic comedy film written by Peter Baynham and directed by Jason Winer. It is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, written and directed by Steve Gordon. It stars Russell Brand in the title role, with Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, and Nick Nolte in supporting roles.
The plot is similar, but not identical, to the original movie. Here, Arthur Bach's mother Vivienne considers him a hopeless wastrel. When he is arrested, intoxicated and dressed as Batman, on the way to a formal dinner where his mother Vivienne intends to make him chairman of her corporation, Bach Worldwide, she forms a plan to have her shrewd assistant Susan Johnson marry him. This marriage would, she believes, rein in her son's outrageous behavior, improving his reputation, while setting him up as a figurehead behind whom Susan will provide stable leadership for the family firm. Arthur is blackmailed into the loveless marriage by the threat of disinheriting him.
However, Arthur meets Naomi Quinn, an illegal tour guide and would-be author to whom he has become attracted because of her free-spirited nature. He woos her, sneaking off on dates with her in between arranging his wedding to Susan. Arthur's nanny, Lillian Hobson – who normally dislikes all of Arthur's choices in women – gets to know and likes Naomi. Meanwhile, Arthur tries to find employment outside Bach Worldwide so that he can escape the marriage, stay with Naomi, and not need the inheritance, but fails miserably due to his alcoholism. Hobson takes him to AA, and when Arthur refuses help and attempts to leave, humiliates herself for him; touched, Arthur remains.
When as part of AA's twelve-step program Arthur tells Naomi the truth, that he is engaged to Susan, she throws him out. Turning to Hobson for comfort, he finds her in bed with a headache. Later, Hobson goes to Naomi and asks her to give Arthur another chance, but she again falls ill and is taken to a hospital. Naomi calls Arthur to tell him what has happened. He comes to the hospital, meets Naomi and is about to make up with her, but Susan arrives and tells Naomi that Arthur has bought the company that is handling the publication of her book. Upset, Naomi leaves the hospital. Hobson comes home and Arthur takes care of her. The two begin to get along better. However, a few days later, Hobson dies in her sleep and Arthur reverts to alcoholism to numb the pain of her death, losing Naomi, and being married to Susan.
At his wedding, Arthur gets drunk and finds Hobson's last letter to him in which she advises him to follow his heart. Arthur decides, during the vows, not to proceed with the marriage. Susan and her father become belligerent and begin punching him, which makes Vivienne realize that the ambitious and conniving Susan is only after her company. Vivienne stops the ruckus, but reminds Arthur of the agreed upon disinheritance if he pursues Naomi. Arthur strips nearly naked to emphasize that he wants no kind of dependency on his mother's money and runs to Naomi's apartment. He tells her that he just lost his mum (meaning Hobson, not Vivienne) but Naomi, still upset with him, says she can't replace Hobson and refuses any prospect of their getting back together.
Six months later, Arthur is now sober. He has gotten back his inheritance because he is managing the company's charity, and his mother is proud of him for finally taking something seriously (possibly indicating his love for Naomi). He goes to a bookshop to buy Naomi's book – which she has dedicated to him – and sees an advertisement for a book-reading she will be giving at a library. Arthur goes to the library and, this time, Naomi takes him back. The two leave the library and Bitterman drives them through New York in the Batmobile with the police following in pursuit.
- The Alcoholic: Obviously, given the source material. But Arthur justifies his drinking because of his father. His Father was a frugal man, had no excesses, walked everywhere he went... and dropped dead of a heart attack at age 45. The lesson Arthur takes from this tragedy is "Why bother to take care of yourself?"
- Brick Joke: Lots of them, from Arthur's fear of horses to his magnetic bed, though The Batmobile takes the cake.
- Broken Bird: A Male subversion... Arthur seems to enjoy his frivolous lifestyle, but he acts out against his Mother by spending obscene amounts of money on useless things (his apartment is full of suits of armor, a glittery camel, a phone-booth-turned-fish-tank) and by drinking vodka like water.
- Decoy Protagonist: Despite Jennifer Garner being heavily featured alongside Russell Brand in the publicity campaign for the film, she plays Susan Johnson -- the woman that Arthur doesn't want to marry.
- Gender Flip: For Hobson, who is now Arthur's nanny and played by Helen Mirren.
- Gold Digger: Susan Johnson, subverted in that she is already quite wealthy... just not as wealthy as Arthur and the upper crust caste system she wants to leap to the forefront of.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Arthur, in spades.
- Nouveau Riche: Burt Johnson, Susan's father. He doesn't seem to mind his humble beginnings, but Susan is deeply ashamed of them, leading to her plot to marry Arthur.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Arthur. His mother and Hobson both lament the obviously intelligent Arthur's frivolous lifestyle, and his mother's belief that he will never grow up sets the plot of the movie in motion.
- Rich Bitch: Arthur's mother Vivienne to an extent, and Susan to the extreme -- she's already wealthy, but sets her sights on Arthur because his name brings prestige she wants from high society.
Arthur: (to Susan) I really think you are dark and twisted on the inside, and I tried my best to bugger it out of you but I'm pretty sure it's still there.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense: Arthur comes off as this, though he has good reason to...
- Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: Linda's counterpart Naomi appears only for a moment at the beginning, perhaps because her actress (Greta Gerwig) is not as big a name as those playing Hobson (Mirren) and Susan (Jennifer Garner). In fact, she not only gets lesser billing than both of them, she's not even on the poster while Mirren and Garner are.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Nearly all of Arthur's emotional troubles stem from his awful mother (he calls her by her first name, Vivienne) and the fact his perfectly healthy father died suddenly at the age of 45, when Arthur was 6. By the end of the film, he openly considers his nanny Hobson to be his real mother.