If you could inherit $175 million dollars from your family by simply marrying the woman they chose, would you do it? What if that woman was dull? Not only dull, but her father expected you to actually work for a living, and to give up alcohol? What if you met an amazing girl that shared your sense of humor, who could laugh at the seriousness of life, yet still work hard, take care of her father and have the quick bold personality that is so fresh in comparison to your humdrum betrothed? Would you trade in that $175 million?
This is the dilemma that Arthur Bach faces. Arthur is a drunk playboy with quick wit, even when inebriated, who's humor and lifestyle is only understood and tolerated by his personal servant and best friend Hobson. Arthur is the representation of a modern libertine rake, he does not necessarily do anything significant to gain appreciation from the audience. He drinks to get drunk, he insults his family with his lifestyle, he spends money just to spend it, he spends his evenings with prostitutes and has an outlook on life that reads: money is meant to be enjoyed. Upon visiting his father's work place, Arthur turns to Hobson and asks: "Why doesn't anyone ever smile here?" In which Hobson replies "They smile at lunch" because Arthur has no comprehension of what hard work is. Yet, the audience likes him. An acceptance is acknowledged that Arthur is simply meant to be what he is: the ideal dream of having everything in life without having to work for it.
Hobson balances Arthur's crude humor with his own dry sarcasm. When Arthur announces that he is going to take a bath, Hobson responds with: "I'll alert the media". Hobson is more than just a best friend to Arthur, he looks out for him, even goes out of his way to help him be with the lovely, yet poor Linda.
Linda is a waitress and aspiring actress who first catches Arthur's attention when she unsuccessfully shoplifts a tie for her father. Arthur has already agreed to his family to marry Susan, a fellow offspring of a Billionaire, yet when he sets his eyes on Linda, he cannot bear to marry Susan. Yet, the thought of living a life without the $175 million is even more unfathomable.
What makes Arthur more appealing then say, Paris Hilton, is his character. Not giving up $175 is understandable because Arthur is meant to live his life making himself and the people he likes happy. Yet, finding that one person that is capable of spending the rest of your life with, because you love them and they love you is understandable in return. Arthur Bach is a man that is ideal for both, but money and love are obstacles for each other in his case.
If you are a fan of Liza Minnelli, or especially of the late Dudley Moore, then I highly recommend this movie! Both performances are amusing to watch, and play along nicely with the ever predictable romantic comedy, that mimics the plays of the restoration period. Definitely a classic, and I am very happy to have made this my first movie review of 2011, taking a small chip into the new resolutions.