Arthur [1981]

Director: Steve Gordon
Stars: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 98 minutes

Arthur, the hapless, hugely popular star of his own TV series, probably knows on some subconscious level that by anticipating the perfect Christmas, he's setting himself up for a fiasco. That's just the sort of world-weary 8-year-old aardvark he is. Nevertheless, he and his pals are hopeful that this year, even though it's already the 22nd and there's no snow on the ground, heavy-duty wish fulfillment, or at least a good time, will be had by all. Well-heeled classmate Muffy is hard at work on the good time part, but she's too busy broadcasting the news of her pull-out-all-the-stops party to pay attention when the increasingly frustrated Francine begs off because of Hanukkah commitments. Buster Baxter, meanwhile, has his hands full getting his guilt-ridden divorced mom to mellow out. And Arthur's knee-deep in his own predicaments: DW demands he draft the perfect letter to Santa; his dad deserts the annual turkey in favor of a historically correct Christmas dinner; and he feels like a dufus, as he puts it, when, on Christmas morning, he drops and breaks the perfect present he bought for his mother. Fortunately, there's nothing a few well-chosen words from a grownup like his Uncle Fred can't fix, and the others also finagle a way around their differences--the holiday spirit sneaks up and smiles on everybody. The one-hour video is pleasantly paced and gets extra spice from a handful of original songs and a few far-fetched, genuinely funny Arthur fantasy segments. Guaranteed to make any Arthur fan's spirits bright. --Tammy La Gorce

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