It is hard to think of reasons why Colin Firth and Emily Blunt signed up for Dante Ariola’s romantic comedy/drama. It is also difficult to imagine the movie without them because they are the only saving graces in it.
Colin Firth plays Wallace Avery, a middle-aged manager who has a miserable life. He leaves his girlfriend (Anne Heche) and his teenage son (Lucas Hedges) who doesn’t want to speak with him. He pretends to disappear but in reality he transforms himself into Arthur Newman. He goes to Indiana and plans to be a professional golfer. Along the way, he meets Michaela (Emily Blunt) who has just overdosed on cough syrup.
Wallace would usually see this as a warning sign but this time he takes on Mike, as she wants to be called, out of the hospital. They go back to the road and break into empty houses to pretend to be other people. Both have identity crises and this bonds them together. The only question remaining is whether they are prepared to leave their old lives behind.
Arthur Newman could have been better if Ariola and screenwriter Becky Johnston opt for a different approach instead of the unimaginative path they made Wallace and Mike take. Mike is the typical manic pixie dream girl that Blunt can’t do anything about it. The role calls for her to make quirky decisions and be emotionally unstable and at the same time have aggressive but vulnerable sexiness. She doesn’t feel like a real person. On the other hand, Wallace is sketchy and Firth manages to fill in the blanks.
The age difference between Colin Firth and Emily Blunt is 22 years and this might be the reason why there’s little romantic chemistry between them. On the positive side, it looks like they are having fun while shooting the movie and they have enough charisma to keep viewers entertain until the end.