Wonder Boys

"Excellent"

Wonder Boys Review


I have no idea what "wonder boys" are. I assume it's one of many questions that are answered in the novel but which go ignored in this film adaptation.

As it turns out, it doesn't really matter who the Wonder Boys are. The film has enough substance and, especially, ribald and dark, dark humor to carry it despite a few minor flaws like this.

A very deep character study, Wonder Boys revolves around Pittsburgh professor and novelist Grady Tripp (Douglas), now struggling with his second novel, which has stretched into 2,600 pages and years in the making. Daytime, he teaches writing to the likes of James (Maguire) and Hannah (Holmes), while attempting to hide his affair with the (married) University Chancellor (McDormand) and keeping his unfinished novel from the grubby hands of his editor (Downey).

Grady's relationship with the talented (yet nearly sociopathic) James becomes the focus of the picture, as Grady tries to coax the hidden writing talent out of James, all while they take a wild ride together through a Pittsburgh winter storm.

The depth of character development in Wonder Boys defies any hack film critic's two-paragraph description of them. Suffice it to say that Wonder Boys is often deep and invariably quite funny, especially if you're a fan of black comedy. Case in point: The film really gets going when James kills the blind dog that is attacking Grady's leg. I never knew a dog's carcass could be so funny, and I'm something of an animal lover.

That said, Wonder Boys is no Kingpin. This is a sophisticated movie for a sophisticated audience. The cast is universally outstanding. It's especially good to see McDormand in a good role again, and Douglas and Maguire turn in very memorable performances, redeeming them both for some recent, lackluster pictures.

Go. Laugh. Enjoy a little intelligence at the movies for once.

The DVD release features a few interesting extras, most notably the interactive map of Pittsburgh, with narration by Curtis Hanson (much like he provided with the L.A. Confidential disc). It's a great letterboxed transfer, too.

Douglas Wondering.



Wonder Boys

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th February 2000

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Curtis Hanson Productions, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), MFF Feature Film Productions, Marubeni, Mutual Film Company, Scott Rudin Productions, Toho-Towa

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 101 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Prof. Grady Tripp, as James Leer, as Dean Sara Gaskell, as Hannah Green, as Quentin 'Q' Morewood, Robert Downey Jr. as Terry Crabtree, as Oola, Michael Cavadias as Miss Antonia 'Tony' Sloviak, as Walter Gaskell, as Sam Traxler, as Emily's Father, as Amanda Leer, as Fred Leer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

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...

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...

Advertisement
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...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.