|"About a Boy" Movie Review
Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette and Hugh Grant in Universal Pictures' romantic comedy, "About A Boy."
©2002 Universal Studios - All Rights Reserved.
"About a Boy" is an adorable romantic comedy complete with the requisite adorable kid, though thankfully he's not annoyingly cute. Based on Nick Hornby's popular novel, this film delivers on all of its promises and then goes that extra mile to totally captivate and amuse both female and male moviegoers.
If Meg Ryan is the reigning Queen of Romantic Comedies, then Hugh Grant would have to be considered a strong contender for the King's crown. Hugh Grant is best when he sticks with roles that let him be a lovable cad - exactly the sort of character offered to him in "About a Boy." With "About a Boy," Grant delivers another memorable performance, adding to his already impressive collection of characters audiences have a love/hate relationship with.
Hugh Grant plays Will, a single, do-nothing, rich, self-absorbed cad. His inherited wealth allows him to plan his day in increments of 30 minutes, with no 30 minute period spent doing anything more exhausting than paying an exorbitant amount to get his hair skillfully tousled or changing channels on the remote. He is an island unto himself and loves it that way, damn it - or so he often proclaims. He doesn't work, has no desire to actually be in a relationship, and the mere mention of kids propels him into panic/escape mode.
Will's life catapults into uncharted territory when he discovers a brand new world of women waiting to be conquered - the world of single mothers. Compared to their ex's, Will is a champion amongst men. After a few unsuccessful attempts at meeting women with children in grocery stores, he gets the brilliant idea of meeting them at S.P.A.T. (Single Parents, Alone Together). Inventing a 2 year-old named Ned and swapping sob stories with the other single parents, Will makes a connection with the beauty of the group, Suzie. Will flashes that dazzling smile and the next thing you know, Will and Suzie have got a day at the park planned. Their first date is intruded upon when they are joined at the last minute by Marcus, the 12 year-old son of Suzie's good friend and fellow S.P.A.T. member, Fiona (Toni Collette). Fiona's a basketcase who spends her days crying about everything and nothing, which causes Marcus to need to escape to the relative normalcy of a day at the park - even if it is with a total stranger and his mom's best friend.
Marcus bonds with Will after an unfortunate accident with a duck and starts making daily trips to his house after school. Will becomes a sounding board for Marcus, though Will has absolutely no idea what he has to offer the boy in the way of friendship or fatherly advice. As Marcus continues his visits without any prompting from Will, Will discovers through Marcus that his own privileged-but-vacant life could possibly have meaning. Throw in a romantic connection with the beautiful, intelligent, and interesting single mom, Rachel (Rachel Weisz), and Will's life quickly transforms into everything he actively fought tooth and nail from it ever becoming.
It's too bad "About a Boy" is opening on the same weekend as the heavily anticipated "Star Wars: Episode II" and just two weeks after Sam Raimi's phenomenally successful "Spider-Man." It may get lost in the shuffle, which would be an absolute shame for moviegoers. Anyone looking for laughs with just a gentle pull on the old heartstrings won't find anything better than "About a Boy." Sure, there's a lesson served up in the film, but it's handled with such finesse and humor that it's easy to swallow.
Overall Grade: A