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About a Boy

A 2002 movie directed by Christ Weitz and Paul Weitz.

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HUGH GRANT and an Oscar-nominated script...it's GREAT!

  • Apr 24, 2003
  • by
Hugh Grant is one of my favorite film performers. Notice I don't say "actor." He doesn't really act, per se, since he's always riffing on basically the same character...usually with varying degrees of charming, slightly goofy befuddlement (NOTTING HILL, 9 MONTHS) or charm barely concealing nastiness (BRIDGET JONES). In a film such as EXTREME MEASURES, where he played a doctor turned amateur sleuth, he just wasn't convincing.

So much of his success lies with his ability to pick roles tailor made for him, such as in 4 WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL. He's an intelligent leading man with impeccable comedic delivery. When the material written for him is good, he is GREAT. When it's mediocre, he's only OK to watch.

ABOUT A BOY is the best script he's had to date (well, maybe 4 WEDDINGS is...hard to say). He plays a rich, single lout who lives only to indulge himself and score with women. He truly only thinks of his own pleasures...most of which are remarkably humdrum. He's not a creep or pervert or hedonist, really, he's just monumentally self-indulgent. He didn't even earn his fortune, he inherited it.

One day, he gets the bright idea of meeting women by joining a single-parent's support group. He'll just pretend to be a single father, and all the single women who will greatly outnumber him will fall all over themselves over him. AND HE'S RIGHT!!!

But this is just where the movie gets started. Through a series of events involving trying to keep his secret just that, he ends up being stuck with a teenaged boy who is awkward and fatherless and extremely nerdy who also takes a liking for Grant and starts showing up at his apartment door every afternoon to watch TV. Grant can't get rid of him...it's a kind of mild blackmail situation. But slowly, slowly, slowly, the two begin to bond. Grant, through sheer annoyance, begins to bully the kid into being less of a schlep. And this tiny kernel of interest in another human being slowly begins to gnaw away at Grant's insular world. He's upset by the changes he sees in himself, but he also becomes enchanted with the unique feeling of actually making an impression on others.

The movie is very funny and has lots of near farcical situations. The laughs are never cheap, though, and most of the humor is character driven. It's not an action packed film, but I laughed outloud at LOTS of it...Grant's delivery has never been better. But it was also moving, but in a very non-Hollywood, tear-jerking way. The viewer is nearly as startled as Grant's character to see that we've grown to really care about the main characters.

This is a terrific, moving comedy. Every character is fully realized, even if only on screen for a scene or two. It's beautifully filmed in London and there's not one moment where you feel you're watching an American movie. It feels British through and through (how weird for a film directed and produced by the brothers who brought us AMERICAN PIE...another movie that had surprising touches of drama that actually worked). It's a sophisticated movie, sure to be hated by most kids...not that kids ever go to Hugh Grant movies anyway. But for intelligent adults looking for a great two hours, with a story unlike any seen before, CHECK IT OUT!! Highly, highly recommended.

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More About a Boy (movie) reviews
review by . March 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This one of the funnier movies I've seen in a while - and believe me, I've suffered through hundreds of pathetic comedies.About a Boy is really about two boys: Hugh Grant, a rich, lazy heir, and Nicholas Hoult, the son of a suicidal single mom. It has its serious moments, but overall it's a great laugh. I love the way the movie reads into the minds of Grant and Hoult - it adds a whole new layer of comedy, allowing the characters to add sarcasm to the scene without making the movie unrealistic. The …
review by . March 27, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Small twist on an over used plot      Cons: Over used plot      The Bottom Line: Not terrible. And really not much of anything, but it didn't totally suck. If it comes on as you flip through, it's worth watching.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. About a Boy at first flush seems like a fluff film that isn’t even really a chick-flick. I had it sent because of Toni …
review by . January 16, 2003
Just when you think that every Hugh Grant movie is from a template too thinly worn, up pops ABOUT A BOY. With a fine script, excellent direction and supporting cast this is Hugh Grant's finest hour. Yes, he still maintains than British aloof gentleman aura, but here he allows us to see the shallow void of his character and then invites us to explore his self-evaluation and and salvation in getting on the trail of becoming a man with a meaningful life. The cast is excellent - Toni Collette, Rachel …
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Ranked #146
I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie


A box-office smash in England,About a Boywent on to charm the world as another fine adaptation (followingHigh Fidelity) of a popular Nick Hornby novel. WhileHigh Fidelitytransplanted its London charm to Chicago, this irresistible comedy was directed by Americans Chris and Paul Weitz (American Pie) with its British pedigree intact. Better yet, Hugh Grant is perfectly cast as Will, a self-absorbed trust-fund slacker who tries to improve his romantic odds by preying on desperate single mothers. His cynical strategy backfires when he recruits the misfit son (Nicholas Hoult) of a suicidal mother (Toni Collette) to pose as his own son, thus proving his parental prowess to his latest single-mom target (Rachel Weisz). The kid has a warming effect on this ultimate cad, and what could have been a sappy tearjerker turns into a subtle, frequently hilarious portrait of familial quirks and elevated self-esteem. From start to finish, it's a genuine treat.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: May 17, 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2003
Runtime: 1hr 40min
Studio: Universal Studios
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