Arthur-Newman-Colin-FIrth-Emily-BluntArthur Newman stars Colin Firth as the title character. Originally known as Wallace Avery, Firth fakes his death to escape his seemingly stale life to reinvent himself as a golf pro in southern Indiana. He has barely begun to put his plan in action when he meets Mike, Emily Blunt. Mike initially comes across as a hot mess that has Arthur intrigued and needing to save her. Arthur convinces Mike to accompany him on his road trip. Both seem curious about the other and display a blind trust in each other. They both soon learn they are both pretending to be someone else to escape the many things in the real world that force pain and struggle upon any individual.

Back in the world he left behind, Wallace’s son, Lucas Hedges, struggles to learn about the father whom he lacked a relationship with. He learns about the room he never stayed in and presents he never opened. He also meets his father’s girlfriend, Anne Heche. Arthur and Mike continue to travel and take on various adventures and identities. They begin to pick out couples and become them for short periods of time to further escape their world. As they do this they begin to develop an odd relationship that seems to be rooted in escapism and a need to feel something. When they finally make it to Indiana they learn that even taking life on as someone else has it’s problems and maybe what you left behind wasn’t that bad.

Arthur Newman misses the mark from the start as director Dante Ariola fails to give the viewer any reason as to why Wallace wishes to leave his life so badly. The deliberate pace of the film and lack of emotion make one question what you are doing with your time. While the performances of Firth and Blunt are strong, as we have come to always expect from the both of them, the lack of character development really overshadows the film. Even the various twists and turns the characters encounter seem to fall flat and garner viewers expressionless. We just don’t know enough about them to understand or care. Even the ending seems question whether or not the characters are even happier with the choices they ultimately make. With all the complications in the film as it is, it seems to be trumped by the odd storyline between Wallace’s son and girlfriend. It’s so open ended and serves absolutely nothing in the film.

The problems in this film could be shared by Ariola and screenwriter Becky Johnston, who is best known for Seven Years in Tibet. With the deliberate pacing and lack of character development this film turns into the epitome of mediocrity. It is possible to make a great film with this pacing and the caliber of performers and it’s quite unfortunate that they were unable to achieve it this time. This is most definitely a film that you can skip. You’d be better off re-watching The King’s Speech or The Devil Wears Prada for your Firth and Blunt fix.