February 3, 2014
Movie Night: Arthur 2: On the Rocks.
Review #538: Arthur 2: On the Rocks.
Dudley Moore (Arthur Bach), Liza Minnelli (Linda Marolla Bach), John Gielgud (Hobson), Geraldine Fitzgerald (Martha Bach), Kathy Bates (Mrs. Canby), Paul Benedict (Fairchild), Stephen Elliott (Bert Johnson), Cynthia Sikes (Susan Johnson), Ted Ross (Bitterman), and Barney Martin (Ralph Marolla) Directed by Bud Yorkin.
I have reviewed this particular character before, with the remake (#203) which while I may have given a bit too much credit, wasn't awful. I then reviewed the original Arthur (#206), and...yeah, I have a confession to make. After watching the original Arthur once more just recently before doing the sequel, I realized that the first one is actually better then what I first thought. Moore does a very entertaining performance. He of course can be hilarious to himself and others, but the scenes he shares with Gielgud are brilliant and showcases Moore at his best. And Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) is a really good song, especially for a film like that. Steve Gordon did such a good job in sadly the only film he directed. So yeah, I will change my ranking for Arthur, all because of my regret. And then there's this sequel. Make no mistake, I won't ever revoke my thoughts on a film like Arthur 2: On the Rocks. A seven year wait, and all you get...is a lemon of a sequel. Does it have its moments? Sure, even really awful movies have their brief moments (Except for of course, #442 - The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, which has no merit because that would require me to let out my repressed memories of that film), and the beginning of this film at least tries to make an effort. Then...Arthur goes broke.
After that, the movie segues into even more mediocre quality, until of course it reaches the last possible trick it has, John Gielgud...who appears an hour into the movie (as a drunken hallucination, mind you), and leaves after eight or so minutes. Is he funny? Sort of, but by then, the movie has sunk to a depressive quality that makes you wonder why was this even made. And yes of course Arthur gets his money back, if he didn't, the movie would end with him (and the audience to a lesser extent) doomed. Arthur doomed because the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be an oncoming train, and the audience, who just realized their time was just wasted. It's all too predictable, half the time you're just waiting for him to get his money back because seeing him try to make the best of his...drunken state, while a novel attempt at trying to twist things up, is not very entertaining. Minnelli is okay, I suppose. At least Stephen Elliott (who is okay, delusional, but okay) returns, though his daughter played by Jill Eikenberry in the original didn't. Sikes is okay, though she can't save the movie. Moore seems more aged, seemingly tired of this role, he even disowned the film after it was released. The movie seems to have a few subplots: An adoption subplot, Bach's attempts to get his money subplot, and Bach's alcoholism struggle, none of the subplots are great, the movie tries so hard, and yet it falls so flat. This is a sad movie when it all comes down to it, it's not awful, it's just a disappointment. If you want to see more of Arthur, I'd recommend it. If you want to see more sequels to movies that were probably forgotten after they were watched, I'd suggest Staying Alive, Grease 2, or Airplane II: The Sequel.
Overall, I give it 4 out of 10 stars.