About a Boy


Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance


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June 27, 2014 at 09:14 AM



Rachel Weisz as Rachel
Nicholas Hoult as Marcus Brewer
Toni Collette as Fiona Brewer
Hugh Grant as Will Freeman
805.01 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 9 / 73

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Superunknovvn 9 / 10

Wonderful book, wonderful movie - gotta love Nick Hornby!

This movie really came as a surprise to me. I had read the book shortly before I saw it and when I heard Hugh Grant was going to star and the Weitz brothers were chosen to direct I didn't exactly have high hopes. I thought "American Pie" was funny and all but this kind of story demanded someone more mature, someone clever. This movie, however, turned out to be all that: mature, clever, witty, sensible, honest and, most of all, really funny in such a natural way. Hugh Grant has never been better in any role before or since and the soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy is just perfect for the movie. The only thing they overdid a little was Toni Collette's character. I've never seen a person like that in real life. What I did like was the way they changed the ending for the movie. Usually that's not a good idea but it totally worked here. After all, I still liked "High Fidelity" a tiny bit better (the movie, not the book), but "About A Boy" comes very close. If you are just as much a fan of this book/movie as I am, get the DVD. There are wonderful deleted scenes on it, which are as funny as the rest of the movie.

Reviewed by Bill Slocum ([email protected]) 8 / 10

Hugh Grant in non-annoying role shock! And he's quite funny too

Sometimes a rut can feel like a hammock when we get stuck in one.

"About A Boy" is about a Londoner who was apparently born into one, imprisoned as it were by his father's legacy as author of one of the world's most popular and annoying Christmas songs. After years of feckless unemployed upper-middle-class living, Will views himself as an island, and sees his lack of long-term relationships as a plus. Even offered the simple honor of being an infant's godfather, Will begs off, saying he'd be "crap" at it and probably just "try and shag" the girl the moment she turned 18.

"I always thought you had hidden depths," the mother says.

"No, you've always had that wrong," Will cheerfully replies. "I really am this shallow."

But of course Will does have depths, and as played by Hugh Grant in a role that gives this smooth comedic actor a chance to showcase some previously-unguessed-at depths of his own, we find ourselves rooting for Will to find them as he finds himself attached unwillingly to a 12-year-old named Marcus, played with welcome non-cuteness by Nicholas Hoult. Marcus, an abuse magnet at school, is alternately worried for his unstable mother and searching for a pal. Will, a 12-year-old at heart, is a perfect if unknowing candidate.

Based on the great Nick Hornby novel, "About A Boy" walks a fine line, doling out easy laughs and real pathos with deceptive ease. Like Hornby's book, the movie depicts Will's perverse detachment from the world as both delightful and pathetic. Life is a full plate of pain for those who participate, but the benefits, as Marcus tries to tell Will, beat all else.

Of course, most of us don't have the luxury for "island living," and the potential of resenting Will, especially as played by that handsome devil Grant, might have been the film's biggest danger. But Grant defuses things with a subtle characterization that downshifts on the smugness and draws on the lost boy within.

For example, when Will tries to infiltrate a single-mothers' club as a way of bagging some commitment-free sex, we watch him tell the mothers about his own non-existent two-year-old boy Ned telling him "you hang in there, Dad," then reacting with uncertain fear when the mothers enthuse about how remarkable that is for such a young child.

But we also see the pain Will pretends isn't there, in brief flashes as he reflects on the hard-drinking failure his father became after his one-hit wonder, and especially in one great scene where Will finds himself with a woman he really cares about, unable to break out of his artifice at a critical moment. During that scene, and a later, angry one with Marcus, Grant's acting really demands consideration from those who dismiss him as a dandy glamor boy.

The directors, Chris and Paul Weitz of "American Pie"-fame, prove they can make a film that delivers intelligence as well as laughter, and with writer Peter Hedges, fashion a script that takes some clever and daring liberties with Hornby's solid story. I especially liked the one near the end of the movie, but if I revealed anything I'd probably get some Flack for it, so say no more.

The very last scene of the movie is a mistake, though, the kind of tidy resolution Hornby's novel and life itself rightly rejects. It's the one bum note in this film, but enough of one to dock it a point with me. Otherwise, I'd have to rate this above even the other cinematic Hornby adaptation, the classic "High Fidelity." But this is a very entertaining film, with great set design, a terrific "Rubber Soul"-style Britpop title song by Badly Drawn Boy, tight editing, and subtle, crafty camera work. Also some great supporting performances, especially Toni Collette as Marcus' mother, who has the film's toughest role (she must be funny and suicidal) and manages to not only pull it off but gives "About A Boy" a wonderfully unstable center. As "About A Boy" makes clear, instability is a good thing when it shakes us from our ruts.

Reviewed by kwongers 10 / 10

Hugh Grant shines; great coming-of-age movie; bloody hilarious and touching at the same time

In the wonderfully entertaining "About A Boy," Hugh Grant shucks everything that made him famous nearly a decade earlier in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (the floppy hair, the stuttering, etc.) and ends up giving his best performance to date. He plays Will, a wealthy, happily unemployed, commitment-phobic cad (slightly less insidious than Daniel Cleaver of "Bridget Jones's Diary") whose newest ploy is to date single mothers because they are easier to dump. However, he meets Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), the son of a somewhat suicidal mother (Toni Colette), and realizes that he cannot continue living his life so shallowly.

This film was based on Nick Hornby's wonderful book of the same name and retains much of the wit and touching humor. The early scenes depicting Will's "full," but spiritually empty, life are particularly amusing, with Will dividing the day up into units of time and spending these units on "web-based research" (finding pics of supermodels with see-through tops), "exercise" (shooting pool), grooming, and the like. Grant makes his character irresponsible, but remains enormously likable throughout the film. This is important because we start to identify with him, and understand his fears of commitment and helplessness behind his outward superficiality. His mannerisms—Grant's specialty, I think—are v. entertaining to watch; the selfishness, hurt, anger, recognition and more pass across his face effortlessly. The other cast members– Nicholas Hoult, Toni Colette, and Rachel Weisz – are also v. good in their supporting roles and play off each other well.

The film doesn't follow the book too closely, however, but does one-up on the book by wisely emphasizing some parts that the book downplays. For example, Rachel (played by Rachel Weisz) only appears for a few pages in the book, but has much more presence in the movie. Through the Rachel character, we see how Will's relationship with her is different from his past shallow ones, and we realize that he is growing up. Also, the movie is filled with great one-liners and sharp, witty dialogue that never feels forced. The movie also employs voice-over function (Will's) very nicely; for example, in one serious scene, Will follows the ambulance to the hospital, looking rather serious, but in his voice-over he says. "It was all terrible, just terrible. But driving fast behind the ambulance was fantastic." The character would never say that out loud, but it provides comic relief and the assurance that he is, indeed, very shallow.

The strength of "About a Boy" is in the simplicity and power of its scenes. Not one scene is wasted; each one tells us a wealth about the characters and leads to Will's self-discovery. That, along with Hugh Grant's delightful performance, and backed by a great score from Badly Drawn Boy, make "About A Boy" one of the most delightful, entertaining, and touching movies I've seen. It's a great feel-good movie. Highly recommended, especially to Hugh Grant fans, or anyone who has ever empathized or sympathized with Will and his situation. One of my favorites. 10/10.

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