Arthur 2: On the Rocks Recap


Why are we watching the sequel to Arthur this year? It does deserve some elaboration. We’ve played with meta themes the last few years. We had 90’s galore. We had future films. It’s really rooted in figuring out a good way to synthesize the BMT story with the penultimate Bring a Friend cycle. It’s an elaborate yearlong project and probably the unheralded achievement of our generation. So what is the theme this year? Arthur. It’s a big ol’ birthday for our dad this year and this kicks it off. Only makes sense that it starts with Arthur 2: On the Rocks. Not only does he rock, but this is really the only extremely straightforward film in the metacycle. The rest are built on Patrick’s research project involving the New York Times TV listings and so the “Daddio” films that are upcoming are mostly just a mix of films that aired on his birthday over the years. So sit back, pop some popping corn, and enjoy watching a somewhat annoying drunk person.

To recap, Arthur is back, Jack! And he’s drunker than ever. When his wife reveals that she can’t have children they gear up for adoption. But being a drunk asshole doesn’t mix with adoption so he has to tone it down. He does, that is until his family sells off the company to his archenemy, Burt Johnson, who takes all his money away and demands Arthur divorce Linda and marry his daughter Susan instead. Uh oh! He refuses (because that’s insane) and they end up broke. First they end up with Linda’s father, but Burt buys up the building and forces them out (ha!). Then Arthur finds a job, but Burt buys the company and gets him fired (haha!). Foiled at every turn, Linda fears about their chances at adoption and after getting a visit from Susan decides that the best thing for Arthur is for him to be free to marry Susan and get his money back. Devastated Arthur goes back to drinking and ends up homeless (hahaha!). He hits total rock bottom and has a vision of his dead butler Hobson, who tells him not to give up (for his fambly). Arthur puts his nose to the grindstone and sniffs out a bunch of dirt on Burt, but when he confronts him with it he is simply laughed at. Burt don’t care. Burt is immune babbbyyyy. He’s also ready to straight murder Arthur (hahahahaha!). At the last moment, though, Susan has a change of heart. She turns the tables on her father and threatens to reveal his many affairs unless he gives Arthur his money back. Now rich again Arthur returns to Linda and they get a new adopted baby, but that’s not all! Linda’s pregnant too! Awwwww. THE END

I did really enjoy the first film, although I often found Arthur himself a boor. I was also kind of thrown by how straightforward the film is. It’s love at first sight for him and Liza Minelli and that’s really all you need to grapple with. All that said, the butler was very funny, there were some good gags here and there, and Dudley Moore is an entertainer so he was entertaining even if I didn’t like his character. This of course is all thrown out the window for the sequel which plays a lot more like a spoof of Arthur than anything else. Really, everything about the film is unpleasant. Struggling to adopt. Homelessness. Unemployment. All of it screams that they should think of something (anything!) funnier. They also just rehashed the main crux of the first film (Arthur will be/is poor) even when it didn’t make any sense. Why is the girl from the first film still obsessed with Arthur? He is a drunk… isn’t there some boring rich guy she can marry? But no, she’s so crazy in the second film you have to assume there is something deranged about her. That is until she turns around and becomes totally normal at the very end of the film. All of it is bizarre.

Hot Take Clam Bake! This revelation is going to be really hard on Arthur and Linda’s marriage but I have to get it off my chest. Linda, it’s pretty obvious that Arthur originally asked you out just to make his parents mad. Your marriage is built on lies. Let me lay it out for you. Arthur is told by his father that if he doesn’t marry Susan he will lose all his money, he agrees, and then that afternoon he is seen sadly buying expensive clothes and openly talking about how he’s just doing it to make his father angry. That very moment he sees you, a mildly attractive person (beautiful on the inside, but he wouldn’t know that), shoplifting. He then bails you out and asks you on a date. Anything suspicious about that series of events? Lies! It’s all lies! He never expected to realize that Linda is all that (and a bag of potato chips). No sir. He just wanted to make his dad mad. Hot Take Temperature: Classic Habanero. 



‘Ello everyone! Arthur 2: On the Rocks? More like Arthur 2: Also Sucks, amirite?! RUN IT BACK. Let’s go!

  • Probably worth talking about the original first. The original is delightful. Surprising that it was an Oscar winner. Double surprising Dudley Moore himself got nominated. But still, a delight, and once you get past the first scene (which is Arthur at his most grating) the rest is easy breezy and quite fun and funny. It calls back to the days when you could make a self-contained comedy and get nominated for an Oscar and then forget about it … for eight years that is.
  • Ah, this film. The primary issue with this film is it isn’t funny. The secondary issue is that it is often profoundly sad and doesn’t seem to realize it. The tertiary issue is it is a waste, but honestly the first two issues pretty much cover it.
  • I was listening to a podcast about the movie Stripes the other day and I realized precisely what the issue with this film is. Stripes is notorious for its bizarre and downright bad third act set in Eastern Europe. I don’t remember where I heard it, but someone once said that the third act of Stripes is actually Stripes 2, they just tacked it onto Stripes. It makes sense. The first film is about basic training and learning what it means to be in the military and ends with the great Razzle Dazzle dance and the recruits passing their exam and going off to be part of the US military. The sequel is about them single handedly winning the Cold War in a winnebago and everyone hates it. It is a perfect analogy.
  • Here, the argument would go: Arthur 2 exists because it was the original third act of Arthur, but they cut it to make an Oscar winning film. Basically the original two act movie would be: Arthur is told he must marry or get cut off, he meets Linda who he falls in love with, and the second act concludes with Arthur crashing his own wedding and breaking up with his fiance. The third act is then about Arthur and Linda trying to muddle through being poor, while Arthur’s almost-father-in-law tries and ruin Arthur’s family, but in the end Arthur’s family gets one over on the baddie, and Arthur’s grandmother decides that no Bach will be poor, so Arthur and Linda live happily ever after (and rich). The End.
  • The analogy is almost perfect. And like Stripes 2: European Theater, this film is downright bad and weird and not funny and it makes perfect sense it was panned by critics.
  • A very very New York City film for Setting as a Character (Where?). And a very very very Christmas movie for Secret Holiday Film (When?) as well. And I’ll give it a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Arthur’s almost-fiance was actually good all along (awwwwwwwwwwww) which makes no sense. Closest to Bad, bad comedies rarely live up to BMT standards and I don’t think this one manages it.

Read about the sequel Arthur 3: Dark Money in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs


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