Walking on Sunshine opens today and I was seriously tempted to review it. A rom-com set in Puglia with a medley of 1980s hits as the soundtrack is just perfect for summer. But I couldn't see it without my seven-year-old, so I saw Arthur and Mike instead. Though they sound like a veteran double-act at a working men's club, they are in fact an unlikely couple who go on a road trip together and have the sort of wild adventures tarmac-based journeys facilitate in cinema.
Behind the wheel is Arthur (Colin Firth), who was previously known as Walter and worked for FedEx. Divorced, disinterested in his only son (Lucas Hedges) and desperate to be a golf coach, Walter fakes his own death, adopts a new identity and gets a convertible so he can follow his dream to go to Indiana where there's a job waiting. At least in theory. Other than escaping from her family history of mental health issues, Mike (Emily Blunt), short for Michaela, has no obvious ambitions. But she is rescued by Arthur, who finds her by a pool after she accidentally overdoses on cough syrup.
With his new name, the formerly dull and disillusioned golfer is compassionate and up for adventure, so Arthur and Mike head off together and are soon doing crazy things like following other couples home, waiting for them to go out and then entering their houses to play dress-up and have sex.
It's a novel idea that not even author Jack Kerouac got around to on his road trip, but for sedentary Arthur/Walter it's a departure of a kind that is not entirely convincing. Both Blunt and Firth are Americans in Dante Ariola's film and though the former is a natural shoe-in Stateside, once again our Colin, who was so brilliant at playing the stammering King, is just too British to portray even the most miserable Yank.
Please could someone write a part for Oscar-winning Firth that puts him in Surbiton and not South Carolina so I can believe in him again.
Firth is right for Surbiton, not South Carolina
As for Arthur and Mike, it's a film full of promise but it could have been so much better.