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

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...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.