Despite the presence of the always welcomed and extremely talented Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, the new drama from director Dante Arilola, Arthur Newman, is not particularly good.
What might have seemed like interesting ideas to explore when the project was in the development stage has turned out to be a plodding affair that does nothing but drag. Once you become uninterested in the characters, which may happen long before the film concludes, you start to get that dreaded feeling that Arthur Newman is never going to end.
Colin Firth is Wallace Avery, a man who wants to change his past. His wife has left him and his son all but ignores him. “Bought you a gift,” he tells his boy as he attempts to be kind and hand his son a small token, but the boy rides away on his bike as if his father wasn’t even there. So Wallace concocts a plan. He stages a disappearance, buys a new identity, and hits the road to fulfill a dream; to be a golf pro at a country club in Terre Haut, Indiana.
On his way to Hoosierland, Wallace, now with an ID that reads Arthur Newman, meets another lost soul. Emily Blunt is Michaela, known simply as Mike, and she too is traveling under a different identity. Together they ride through the country, discovering little pieces of information about each other along the way. “So you’re a phony?” the woman asks Wallace after she finds his real ID tucked away in a side pocket of one of his bags.
Both Blunt and Firth possess excellent American accents and maintain them throughout. They’re initially fun to watch as they bounce the occasional barb off each other. “Don’t think this makes us closer, ok?” Blunt’s character tells Firth once he discovers that she too is using a fake name. At times, when the characters start breaking into empty homes and assume the identity of the homeowners for the duration of their ‘stay’ the film actually seems to pick up, but it dips again as soon as they get back on the road.
For a film that sets its story of personal discovery on a cross-country journey, Arthur Newman feels as though it’s going nowhere.
MPAA Rating: R Length: 101 Minutes Overall Rating: 4 (out of 10)