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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Movie Review - Arthur Newman

Arthur Newman (2013)
Starring Colin Firth, Emily Blunt, Sterling Beauman, and Anne Heche 
Directed by Dante Ariola
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I don't know if I have a false recollection of the trailer for Arthur Newman or if this is one of those films where the marketing people attempted to try and trick everyone into seeing it, but I thought this flick was supposed to be a comedy.  Needless to say, it wasn't.  Even though I wasn't prepared for the film's more dramatic tone, I'd like to think that were a movie good enough, I'd be able to look past the false advertising and see a silver lining amidst the lies.  This one isn't good enough for that to happen.

Colin Firth is Wallace Avery, a middle aged guy who hates his job at FedEx, doesn't really care much for his girlfriend (Anne Heche), and has become so estranged from his teenage son (Sterling Beauman) that his offspring runs away from him whenever he tries to visit.  With nothing to lose, Wallace decides to end his life.  Well, he decides to end Wallace's life by purchasing a new identity and starting fresh.  After offing his old self by drowning in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast, Wallace transforms into Arthur Newman -- an amateur golfer who did some time playing on the Asian golf circuit.  With this new identity, he hopes to start anew and find more reason to relish life in general.

On his first night as "Arthur Newman," Arthur meets Micheala (Emily Blunt) -- a bit of a loony who was nearly arrested for stealing some guy's car.  Mike (as she likes to be called) is not only a loony, but also a bit of a crook who manages to find an ID card with Arthur's old name on it.  She kinda sorta blackmails him into allowing her to tag along on his cross-country trip and, of course, the two inevitably fall for one another as their journey progresses.

The problem with Arthur Newman is that the film doesn't quite know what it wants to be.  The film does begin with comedic undertones, but it abandons them after about twenty minutes and ends up becoming something much darker than its musical score, dialog, and general aesthetic make it appear to be.  This dichotomy causes the film to never really gel and it forces its two leads to never really grasp their characters' motivations.  It certainly doesn't help matters that the romantic relationship that transpires between Arthur and Mike as they become a very low grade (and non-violent) Bonnie and Clyde-ish type couple never once felt believable as played by Firth and Blunt -- two actors whom I typically always like, but appear very out-of-place and emotionally awkward here.

The RyMickey Rating:  D

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