Sorry for the bait and switch. If I had entitled this review Arthur Newman, there’s a distinct likelihood that no one would read the review.
As it is, no one is seeing the movie either. The film opened in 248 theaters across the country on Friday the 26th. The film took in just $108K – an average of $435 per theater. That’s not per day, that for the weekend. In fact, I was one of just three people to see it in the 11:00 AM show. Three people!
Arthur Newman stars Academy Award winner Colin Firth and Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt. While I did like Firth in The King’s Speech, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and A Summer in Genoa – he’s not an actor that I feel I would have to rush out and see any thing he does.
On the other hand, Emily Blunt is something else entirely. This is the sixth film I’ve seen her in over the last few years; The Adjustment Bureau, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Five Year Engagement, Your Sister’s Sister, Looper, and now this one. I guess she’s some one I would pay to see act , and have done so often.
Firth plays Wallace Avery – a man quite dissatisfied with his current life. He was good enough to become a pro golfer, but wasn’t able to make much of an impact, at least as far as winning. Too many of his putts spun out – the word on the tour was that he lacked heart. His desk job at FedEx wasn’t to his liking either. He wasn’t much of a husband or a father. His wife divorced him six years ago and his son despises him. Arthur is miserable.
So he decides to fake his own death, assume a new identity, Arthur Newman, with forged documents, and make a new life for himself. So off he goes heading for Terre Haute, Indiana for a job as a golf pro at a country club. Soon enough he runs into Michaela (Mike) Fitzgerald, played by the winsome Ms Blunt. She hasn’t much of a resume either – she’s a drifter, a thief, and has a family with a history of paranoid schizophrenia.
Now don’t these two sound like a fun couple?
From the trailer (below) you might think so. They break into people’s homes, sleep in the beds of those homes, try on the clothes they find in those homes, all on their slow journey toward Terre Haute and personal discovery. So you’re expecting a road movie, a romantic comedy, a good-looking couple of tricksters, and more. Basically what you get is the road. And just the road.
Wallace Avery/Arthur Newman is a guy at odds with himself. He’s made mistakes in his life and apparently nothing excites him (not even a current girl friend played by Anne Heche). As he sees it: why not start over – what exactly do I have now?