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About A Boy
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About A Boy Review

Directed By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz.
Starring: Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult.

Synopsis: A 36-year-old underachiever has a fear of commitment that leads him to seek out relationships with single mothers, on the assumption that they are more desperate. However, plans go awry when he becomes best friends with the weird 12-year-old son of his latest target. Based on the Nick Hornby book (the guy who wrote High Fidelity!) and while I would have preferred John Cusack to reappear in one of Hornby's books, after seeing Hugh Grant's performance in Bridget Jones's Diary I have the ultimate faith that he will nail this role!

And now without further ado...the movie review!

Watching a movie like About A Boy, with all it's self analysis for a single male, 30, star of his own life and self-centered and obviously focused on movies and trivia...should have made me squirm...but it didn't. The movie, directed superbly by the Weitz Bros who gave us American Pie and American Pie 2 is a phenomenal lesson in style, subtlety and shows that Hugh Grant is not just some charming English man with floppy hair.

If Rene Zellwegger gets a Oscar nomination for Bridget Jone's then her distant cousin Will (Grant) should get one as well...Hugh Grant has never, and I stress this...never been better in a role. Yes, I have enjoyed him in other flicks..but he has never been this good, displaying three or four varying emotions in split seconds without uttering a word, and saying so much about the man whom he is playing.

The story may upset book purists as the whole Nirvana sub-plot in the book is removed (wisely so) as to make it work would make this film a period piece...if an early 90's film can be called such a thing. However, all the essential elements are here...the cold and detached Will, the sad, pathetic Marcus (Nicholas Hoult, who is very good in this movie), his annoying hippie veg-head mother, as well as the fictitious Christmas song Santa's Super Sleigh which Will's father wrote and which Will has used as a steady stream of income ever since.

The fact that this film is About A Boy, in reality, about two boys counting Will, is what makes this one so interesting. While it may be safer to live your life as an island, to live as Ibiza...it is also a lonely, and blank way to trip through life. What does Will do for a living? Nothing. What are his goals, his dreams...uhm, none...actually...content to watch television and shag single moms really. SO, when Marcus does enter Will's life it is a joy to watch these two broken lives use one another to fix themselves, without the realization that it is going on.

This is, one of those rare...so-called...romantic comedies that will appeal to both sexes for it never, ever breaks the sentimentality border...it makes a run for it on ocassion, but never gets past the keen-eyed gurads thankfully. The redemption of Will is what saves him from being a complete prat in the eyes of the woman audience...and believe me, guys will relate...and if they say they don't...ladies, they are lying, which automatically puts them in Will's league!

This is the third of Nick Hornby's books to be translated to celluloid and each are worth checking out for their own reasons either from a library or to add to your film collection. However, I do think it would be a mistake to adapt Hornby's latest novel How To Be Good where he has somehow become very preachy and annoying...annoyingly preachy actually. Sorry...tangent...

I just hope that the idea of counter programming the Star Wars 2 opening with this pays off, this is another one of those movies that deserves all the audience it can get. Easily a four star film...but since I just enjoyed re-hashing scenes over in my mind as I wrote this, 4.5 stars.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul



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