By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) –
Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) is a divorced mid level store manager and failed golf pro tired with his life. So he decides to end it, not through suicide, but by adopting a new identity “Arthur Newman”. So he sets out to purchase a fake identity and announces to anyone he knows of his intention to take a trip to the beach (where he sets up an elaborate suicide hoax). On his first day as Arthur, Wallace encounters a young woman attempting suicide by overdose of cough syrup.
Editor’s note: placement of NyQuil ad il advised..
He takes her to the hospital and stays by her side as she recovers. The young woman (Emily Blunt) gives her name as Mike, and decides to accompany Arthur on a road trip. It quickly emerges that both Arthur and Mike are using fake identities, a strange coincidence they bond over, as they embark on their strange cross-country journey.
Colin Firth and Emily Blunt give their all in creating two genuinely unique characters. As Wallace Avery/ Arthur Newman, Firth admirably puts himself out of his comfort zone. His character lives a boring, unexceptional life, and he is determined to change it for the better. In his mind, he feels that abandoning everything he built in his life was a failure. As Mike, Emily Blunt plays a broken individual who lives in constant fear of falling into insanity, because her mother and sister both suffered from it.
Crazy is, as crazy does
It is unfortunate that director Dante Ariola fails utterly to make the movie interesting. The novel concept and performances can’t save a movie that chugs along at a snail’s pace, even as it veers from scene to scene with little context or reason. The film presents many moments that are intriguing, even funny. But when the context and reasons for these moments aren’t provided, there is ultimately no reason to care about it.
Lucas Hedges, the teenage actor playing Wallace’s son, has only one emotion:
Perhaps the film’s greatest weakness is in its non-ending. Ambiguous endings have to be earned, and without making much of a dramatic impact, the film lost its right to one.
A movie perhaps too in love with its own quirky concept, that it forgets to have a point.
Take a Drink: any time Colin Firth and Emily Blunt have an awkward sex scene. (Protip: Imagine Firth in character as King George VI)
Take a Drink: anytime Wallace Avery’s son gives the stink face
Do a Shot: each time the characters arrive at a new hotel