About A Boy

on May 17, 2002 by Christine James
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Particularly resonant in this era in which interfacing rarely involves two actual faces, “About a Boy,” based on Nick Hornby's best-selling book, is your consummate feel-good film about what's really important. It's not expensive stereo equipment and regular hairstylings, Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) is shocked to learn after being dragged kicking and screaming into a long-belated coming-of-age. The wealthy bachelor has this epiphany after coming up with a misguided carousing strategy, under which he plans to seduce single mothers who are bound to want to leave him, thereby alleviating him of break-up guilt and hassle. But when 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), the emotionally vulnerable son of one of Will's conquests' friends, concocts a scheme of his own, Will finds himself in the last role he wanted: father figure.

We may have already seen Hugh Grant as the charming but callow cad and Toni Collette as the quirky, unstable mom of an outcast boy, but both add dimension and nuance to what could have been stereotypes as shallow as Will so eagerly professes to be. And Hoult's Damien countenance belies an angelic optimism, preternatural wisdom and immense sensitivity. But despite the aw-shucks subject matter, the film eschews sentimentality for a sharp mix of humor and honesty about finding one's place in an imperfect world. Starring Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette. Directed by Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz. Written by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz. Produced by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Brad Epstein, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some thematic elements. Running time: 100 min

Tags: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette, Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz. Written by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz. Produced by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Brad Epstein, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Universal, Comedy
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