Just how bad is this weekend’s remake of Arthur starring Russell Brand in the 1981 Dudley Moore role? We haven’t seen it, so we can’t entirely be sure; but it’s not a good sign when both Peter Travers of Rolling Stone and Pete Hammond of Box Office Magazine crank out “rotten” reviews that cannot be poached for a sometimes misleading rave blurb.
You read that right. While the Hollywood studios love to mine this pair’s pronouncements for those infamous movie poster “pull quotes,” they do so sometimes even when the overall review is neutral or even negative. What’s more, Travers and Hammond both tend to side with the RottenTomatoes.com consensus in a majority of cases (Hammond 64% of the time, Travers a surprising 79%).
Travers doesn’t accuse Warner Bros. of being responsible for Moore turning over his New Jersey grave, but he comes close. He opines that the “limp-dick remake” starts off promising but “ends in disaster.”
Hammond’s write-up is much more borderline. He has kind words for Brand and co-star Helen Mirren, and his review is one that points up the oft-noted lack of a “middle ground” ratings nomenclature on RT. This Pete’s critique, though ranked rotten, is more accurately just “spoiling.”