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About A Boy (2002)

About A Boy
"You were still in diapers when I got arrested in Hollywood--who told you about that?"

Starring:

Hugh Grant
Toni Collette
Rachel Weisz
Nicholas Hault

Released By:

Universal

Released In:

2002

Rated:

PG-13

Reviewed By:

Adam Mast

Grade:

A-

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About a Boy features Hugh Grant as Will Freeman, a sort of womanizing playboy with a lot of time on his hands. Tired of all the complications that come with dating, he discovers that getting involved with single mothers is a lot less troublesome. He begins meeting woman through SPAT, a single mothers focus group. This eventually leads him to distraught single mom Toni Collette and her bright yet withdrawn son (played by effective new comer Nicholas Hault). Freeman begins to bond with the young lad, and soon becomes a better man because of it.

You'd never guess by watching this picture that it was made by the Weitz Brothers. This movie is much more character driven, and doesn't rely on broad gross-out gags to get it's point across. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby (writer of High Fidelity), About a Boy is heartfelt without being sappy with enough witty dialogue to keep it well above standard, light romantic comedy fare. This is definitely one of Grant's best performances. While we've seen him play this role time and time again, he excels at it thanks to a swagger, droll delivery, and an impeccable sense of comic timing. I also enjoyed Hault as a smart youngster, perhaps the best child performance of the year.

Although About a Boy does manage to go in unexpected directions (without giving too much away, I like the outcome of the Grant/Collette relationship), but I felt Grant's transformation from cad to stand-up guy, was a tad abrupt. Perhaps if the film were longer, these situations would have had a chance to gel.

While About a Boy is not flawless, it is a welcome gem compared to that other movie opening in the same weekend. It's well acted and the Weitz's have proven that their capable of something much more than gross out humor. This movie is much more memorable than anything in the American Pie pictures.

On a sidenote, the Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack was fantastic!

:: zBoneman.com Reader Comments ::

Well Drawn Boy

Well Drawn Boy

About A Boy has become one of those touchstone movies that I have to watch once every month or so just as soul-food for the spirit. It's not often that you find a film that manages to be so emotionally touching without any sentimentality. I don't understand your reviewers reservations about the transformation of Grant's character being too abrubt - the entire movie is about his transformation. Seldom do movies like this or performances in them get Oscar consideration - but every time I watch this film it makes me more convinced that aside from LOTR it was the best film.

Bruce B

Bruce B

About a Boy is for me the best feel-good romantic-comedy to come down the pike since Bridget Jones. I don't suppose it's any coincidence that Hugh Grant is in both films, he was brilliant in both - it would be hard to choose which performance was better. I loved the fact that the move was hilarious, touching, tear-inducing, but not the least bit sentimental. In fact it was almost anti-sentimental. And I agree that the film would not have been as compelling with out the soundrtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.

Agron

Agron

What really got me was the wheaetr the aliens weren't bad, but living in Texas and having had to get in the closet for tornadoes and such just made me realize how freaked out I would be at THAT wheaetr. Edge of the seat definently. White knuckles too I think :0.

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