Picks and Pans Review: Arthur
Dudley Moore has the angelic yet decadent look of a choirboy gone to seed. In this, his most brilliantly crazed performance to date, the 5'2" actor proves that he is a giant when it comes to comedy. As Arthur, a poor little rich boy with a tendency to tipple, Moore is faced with a horrible decision—stick with the lady he loves (Liza Minnelli) and lose a $750 million inheritance, or marry the incredibly insipid choice of his parents, Jill Eikenberry, and be rich and miserable. Though he speaks bravely of riding the subway ("Where is the subway?" he asks), eating tunafish sandwiches and even getting a job, Arthur just isn't cut out to be poor. Writer and director Steve Gordon, a veteran of such TV sitcoms as The Dick Van Dyke Show and Barney Miller, is to be congratulated on his big-screen directing debut. His hilarious screenplay is a minefield of laughs. If anyone could steal any of Moore's thunder, it's Sir John Gielgud, who gives a deliciously dry performance as Arthur's unflappable manservant. One small quibble: Moore spends almost half the film acting drunk; he's very good at it, but it does begin to get tiresome. Never mind. This is the funniest movie of the year. (PG)
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