Ben & Arthur (2002) Review

It’s here that Ben reveals that despite the fact they’ve been together for 3 years, he’s still in the process of divorcing his wife. Somehow Arthur has been completely in the dark about this.

Arthur

“What?” Arthur appropriately asks.

Before we can dwell on that moment for too long, though, we abruptly cut away and hear Arthur’s interior monologue as he rather intensely scribbles in his journal.

Arthur writing in his journal in Ben & Arthur

“Dear Diary. I can’t believe Ben. He’s married to some bitch named Tammy.”

He says that Ben only got married due to “peer pressure,” something every adult beyond high school succumbs to.

“I guess regardless of how well you know someone, there’s always more to learn.” Such words of wisdom, Arthur. “The important thing is we’re going to stay together.” Awww.

In the next scene some ominous synth—like, dreadfully ominous synth—plays as Ben’s wife walks down the hall to his (or their?) apartment, knocks on the door (I guess it’s just his?), and Ben tells her she wants a divorce. Apparently this is the first she’s heard him bring up the concept, even though he made it sound like he was in the “process” of divorce earlier.

“What?” she asks just like Arthur, with the look of a woman really trying to grasp what she’s just heard.

wife shocked face

“I want a divorce,” Ben repeats.

She just laughs to herself. “What brought that on?”

wife laughing in Ben & Arthur
“Divorce, huh? What are you, unhappy or something?”

“Tammy, I’m homosexual,” he tells her with such clearly expressed conflict.

Ben looking contemplative in Ben & Arthur

Tammy laughs again. “You want me to believe that?”

Yeah, really. Hasn’t this HILARIOUS joke gone on for too long?

He shows her the divorce papers, saying he’ll get married to Arthur in Vermont, and she asks if the last 5 years meant nothing to him.

man looking up to the left
“Duuuuh, nope.”

“That’s not what this is about,” he replies.

The scene ends with her shoving the papers at him and telling him to fuck off, leaving the apartment, without signing anything, of course.

Cut to Ben working as a dishwasher at some restaurant,

man dishwashing in restaurant

Arthur comes in to bug him about how he wants to quit his job and proceeds to complain about everything from the bitchy boss to the cranky customers. He wants a degree in business, he says. Even though he’s supposed to have known Ben for three years, he’s talking about all this as if he just met the guy a week ago when he got this job.

“I want to open my own porno shop,” Arthur says, with a totally innocent smile that isn’t creepy in the least.

Arthur pervert smile

Ben encourages him, stating he’d like to be a musician (which Arthur should also know already) while Arthur just laughs and laughs like a normal human being.

Arthur lets him know about the divorce papers, but just as he’s about to finish his line, we abruptly cut to Arthur serving coffee to customers.

He walks up to one of them and bluntly asks, almost accusatory, “Do you want more?”

“Yes,” she replies, as he proceeds to fill her soda cup with coffee.

filling soda cup with coffee

Something about all of this just feels off and synthetic, but I can’t quite place what it is.

Regardless, he asks her how she’s doing and she just waves him off. Then as he walks away she says, “I want more.”

He walks back. “I just filled it.”

“There’s a whole two inches left.” Yeah, but it’s a fucking tall soda cup.

She asks for more sugar after that, and Arthur walks back into the kitchen to tell Ben he’s quitting, which Ben is perfectly fine with.

As Arthur walks back out, the soda cup coffee girl stands up and complains to the two other customers, “Doesn’t the service suck?” She sees Arthur and asks, “Aren’t you gonna give me my sugar?”

To which Arthur simply laughs, says “no,” and makes his dramatic exit—again, like a normal human being.

arthur-laughing-walking

“You better give me my sugar or else I’ll tell your boss on you,” she says like a normal adult.

“Bye,” Arthur laughs, leaving.

“I’m telling. I’m telling. That’ll show him.” Yeah, because clearly he gives a shit about his job.

So, Arthur sits down to look for jobs, and we see him flip through newspaper ads and make calls. One hangs up on him as soon as he mentions he has a degree, but he soon lands one, at a male strip club that looks totally legit.

male strip club in Ben & Arthur

He’s there to audition, and while I initially didn’t buy Sam Mraovich as a stripper, I changed my mind once he started showing off his moves. This is one sexy guy. I’m actually kind of surprised he didn’t wind up in Magic Mike, at least as background.

Arthur dancing in strip club in Ben & Arthur

The lights eventually go on and the “director” says, “Cut.” He walks up to Arthur and drinks from his bottle of fruit booze in the sleaziest way possible.

drinking from bottle sleazily

He seems impressed, but then his drunk ass tells Arthur, “Now, let’s see your penis.”

Arthur, unwilling to lose his dignity as always, says goodbye to that job in dramatic fashion, tearing and tossing his application papers.

Arthur tearing up application papers

Poor Arthur, back to the job hunt grind, with his back to blinds once again. Seriously, we see blinds a lot in this film.

man with hands to temple

We see him struggle to both look for an apartment and a job, unclear whether he’ll find either.

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