Firth, Blunt pair for 'Arthur Newman'

Emily Blunt and Colin Firth pair up as two star-crossed runaways in the offbeat romance "Arthur Newman."
Emily Blunt and Colin Firth pair up as two star-crossed runaways in the offbeat romance "Arthur Newman."
Posted: April 26, 2013

WHEN LAST we saw a forlorn middle-aged man on the road with a young and kooky redemptress, it was Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, and the world was ending.

In "Arthur Newman," the leads are Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, and while the Earth is fine, their worlds are not.

Divorced Arthur, in fact, has just faked his own death to get away from his dead-end life - a sour relationship with a stonewalling son (David Andrews), and passionless relationship with a phlegmatic girlfriend (Anne Heche).

Driving a used convertible and carrying a bag of cash, he heads to a new life as a golf pro in the Midwest, a journey interrupted when he decides to pick up a wayward tagalong Michaela (Blunt), whose disruptive presence, we understand, is just what Arthur needs.

The scenario is familiar, but the movie has a few good ideas - Michaela has a hobby of pretending to be other people and enlists Arthur (already halfway there) in this game. It leads to a nice seduction scene wherein both self-loathing characters manage to feel attractive by impersonating someone else.

That's the highlight. The episodic movie is mostly an erratic compilation of wrong-footed scenes. A subplot featuring Arthur's girlfriend bonding with his confused son is poorly judged, and Arthur's own story (he's a failed pro golfer) turns out to be nonsensical, given his background.

Surely there was something on the pages of Becky Johnston's script to attract these two top-notch leads. Whatever it was is concealed by the movie "Newman" turned out to be.


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