About A Boy

"Good"

About A Boy Review


Having acquired a taste for playing against type from his spot-on performance as an overconfident office scoundrel in "Bridget Jones's Diary," Hugh Grant really sinks his teeth and his spiky new haircut into his starring role as an even more callow cad in "About a Boy."

Londoner Will Freeman is a guy who, when asked to be godfather to a friend's baby daughter, recoils in horror and tries to talk her out of it. "I'll forget all her birthdays," he insists, "until her 18th, when I'll probably take her out to get her drunk, and let's face it, probably try to shag her."

When the same well-meaning friend says she knows he has hidden depths, Will replies, "You've always had that wrong. I really am this shallow."

Will is a guy who, after being fixed up with a pretty single mom, realizes what easy targets they are for his particular brand of love-'em-and-leave-'em charm. So he invents a fictional 2-year-old son, buys a kid's car seat, mucks it up with spilled chips and juice, then straps it in the back of his sports car as a ruse to meet vulnerable women.

Grant plays Will to the hilt and could possibly have shaken his sensitive chick-flick hero image once and for all if this movie didn't succumb to inevitable warm fuzzies in the last act.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Based on a novel by the sardonic Nick Hornsby ("High Fidelity") and directed by brothers Paul and Chris Weitz (of "American Pie" fame), "About a Boy" is also, well, about a boy -- dorky 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), who latches on to a reluctant Will as a pal and role model.

They meet through one of Will's single-mom dates (with Marcus's mom's best friend). Marcus takes Will's off-hand "see you soon" remark as an invitation to turn up at the man's flat every day after school until Will realizes the kid seriously needs some help being cool. Marcus is relentlessly picked on at school. He often breaks into song absentmindedly -- and in a falsetto. And not good songs, either. More like Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song." Not to mention that his mom (Toni Colette) is a teenager's most embarrassing nightmare -- a weird, clingy hippie type blind to the fact that her son is an outcast. Oh, and she's an emotional train wreck to boot.

If Will had anything else to do, he'd probably slam the door in Marcus's face. But being a 38-year-old who's never held a job (he lives quite comfortably off royalties from a popular Christmas jingle his father wrote) or had a girlfriend for more than two months, he lets the awkward lad hang around and watch TV. That is until Will finds a use for him -- as bait for the first woman he's ever been interested in as more than a passing fancy (Rachel Weisz). She's a single mom with a teenage son. This guy just doesn't learn.

So thick with dry wit is "About a Boy" that I found myself trying to transcribe half the dialogue in my notes for this review, even though I know better than to quote them all back to you.

So refreshingly incisive is Grant's performance that for the first time in his career he'll probably appeal more to guys than to their girlfriends who drag them to this movie for the Hugh factor. Yet you know there's a soul somewhere inside the character because the movie is about him finding it -- eventually -- and that makes him likable on a more traditional level.

Even though it focuses on Will and Marcus, "About a Boy" does alter Hornsby's tale somewhat to follow the reformed bad boy formula that has always been a fantasy of chick flick screenwriters. But it's the journey that counts, and going along on this ride you're in for plenty of cunning, cutting comedy.



About A Boy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th May 2002

Box Office USA: $40.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $129M

Budget: $27M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 171 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Will, as Marcus Brewer, as Fiona Brewer, as Rachel, as Christine, Madison Cook as Imogen, Jordan Cook as Imogen, Nicholas Hutchison as John, Ryan Speechley as Barney, Joseph Speechley as Barney, as Ellie, as Angie, Orlando Thor Newman as Louie, Angie's Kid, Russell Barr as Maitre D', Denise Stephenson as Lindsey, Peter Roy as Will's Dad, Rosalind Knight as Lindsey's Mum, as Ali, as Suzie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.