Arthur Newman Movie Review
Movies about losers tend to fall into one of two categories. Either the characters are "lovable losers" who are able to elicit the viewer's sympathy and desire to see the characters grow and change for the better; or the characters are so frustrating to watch that you want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, yelling for them to snap out of it. Unfortunately, Arthur Newman falls into that latter category.
Wallace Avery (played by the usually charming Colin Firth) doesn't have the best life. Once a promising amateur golfer, his career swiftly went downhill upon joining the pro circuit. Also, his ex-wife and son hate him, his girlfriend doesn't seem too fond of him either, and to top it all off he's just been fired from the local FedEx office. Deciding that he's had quite enough of this, he fakes his own death, buys a new identity as Arthur Newman (for $3,000; I would have thought it cost more...) and sets off to follow up on a job prospect under his new name. This is where his plan proceeds to fall apart.
His first night as a new man, he meets "Mike" (Emily Blunt). After just a few hours together, Mike manages to discover Arthur's true identity and Arthur/Wallace spills his entire plan. The two embark on a journey where along the way they break into people's homes and adopt their personalities for a few hours; wearing their clothes, eating their food, having sex in their beds - you know, your typical road trip. We learn that Mike isn't exactly who she seems, Wallace really should work on his planning skills, and everyone learns a valuable lesson at the end.
The film isn't a total bust; it has some moments that are entertaining and Emily Blunt has a great wardrobe. But there are too many parts that cause irritation; whether it's the characters inability to make any good choices for 99% of the film, to Mike's constant prying into Wallace's life but complete unwillingness to discuss her own which eventually made me stop caring about the motivation for her actions. Overall the concept is good and the film had the potential to be a fun, poignant story of self-discovery and learning to accept the hand you're dealt, but unfortunately falls flat on just about every level.
Review by Rachel Samdahl
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.