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Overall Rating
4.14

Awesome: 41.03%
Worth A Look47.01%
Just Average: 3.42%
Pretty Crappy: 1.71%
Sucks: 6.84%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings


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About a Boy
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by EricDSnider

"Hugh Grant achieves respectability."
5 stars

"About a Boy" takes the shopworn premise about a shallow adult whose life is changed by a child, and infuses it with irresistible humor and life. It's "Big Daddy" or Disney's "The Kid," but with the added bonus of being watchable.

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby (who also wrote "High Fidelity"), "About a Boy" has two narrators. One is Will (Hugh Grant), an amazingly shallow London layabout still living off the royalties from a Christmas novelty song his father wrote; the other is Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), an unpopular 12-year-old boy who, through a series of strange events, becomes Will's friend.

Will discovers that single moms are the best women to date, because all he has to do is show mild interest in the kids and suddenly he's some kind of superman. And then, before long, the self-esteem-deprived women dump him, thus saving him the trouble of breaking it off with them. ("I'd never watched a woman cry without feeling responsible," he says of his epiphany during the first such breakup.)

So he sets out to meet single moms, going so far as to invent a fictitious toddler of his own in order to fit in. He meets Suzie (Victoria Smurfit), and through her meets Fiona (Toni Collette), who is suicidal and whose son is Marcus. An unlikely friendship begins.

There are tinges of great drama throughout this very fine comedy, which was directed by Paul and Chris Weitz, whose "American Pie" buried its sweetness quite a bit deeper. "About a Boy" is not afraid to take its serious points seriously; in fact, it uses the ups and downs of life to ground its humor in reality. Witness Will's reaction to following Fiona to the hospital after a suicide attempt: "It was horrible, horrible -- but driving fast after the ambulance was fantastic!" It is refreshing to hear characters say the things we would think -- though we would never dare say them.

The device of dueling narrators provides the film with some unexpected humor, particularly when a scene calls for both men's point of view -- a sort of "he said/he said" situation. It is one of the movie's several touches that skew it just slightly away from the mainstream.

Hugh Grant is wry and witty and non-stuttering as Will. The character's selfishness stems not from believing those around him are inferior to him, but from believing he is inferior to them. It's a fine role for Grant, whose characters are often as smarmy as they are charming. Here, he is vulernable -- ultimately, as vulnerable as Marcus, whom Nicholas Hoult plays with brilliant, self-effacing mopiness.

Toni Collette, too, is magnificent -- is she ever not magnificent? -- as Marcus' mum, bringing comedy to the sad scenes and gravity to the funny ones.

We must also mention the ultra-cool acoustic rock soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.

Movies like this make you feel happy without you realizing anyone has "made" you do anything. These are characters we care about and relate to; the fact that they speak with flair and wit makes them funnier, but no less human. The movie is a gem.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5912&reviewer=247
originally posted: 05/17/02 14:26:56
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User Comments

6/21/14 Richard Brandt Sweet; her reaction hearing Will worked at Amnesty International is priceless 4 stars
3/15/12 Amanda Oh ReallyBickcock, you have better lock playing with yourself. 4 stars
7/28/10 ReallyBickcock I have a really huge dick and i wanna fuck the moms in this movie 5 stars
6/30/10 ddfdfgh this film was very boring 3 stars
5/01/10 PAUL SHORTT AMUSING, BRIGHT AND UNPREDICTABLE 4 stars
7/27/08 Samantha Pruitt hugh grant was great, very sweet movie! 4 stars
5/03/08 Amiida Hilarious,but still loyal to the book,just fantastic 5 stars
4/07/08 beau bloody hilarious. Hugh grant and toni collette are gold! the kid is now in tv show 'Skins' 4 stars
3/03/08 ladavies Hugh Grant can do no wrong. 4 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P i love this movie, it was so sweet, and Hugh Grant is as charming as usual! 4 stars
5/25/07 T. Monaco Great Film 5 stars
11/01/06 Pinkline Jones Fine film. Grant excellent 1 stars
10/04/06 Baldeadly Was just as good as the book. Brill! Really funny and different. Hugh Grant is Really class 5 stars
5/05/06 Ashley Hinz I didn't like this film overly much, but I like the actors. 4 stars
4/09/06 Thomas Semesky A charming movie that doesn't go over the edge. 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk A cute and funny little film 4 stars
2/19/06 Tanya very entertaining 4 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Strong comedy. Grant at his best. Love the story. 4 stars
11/09/05 Ole Man Bourbon Some sappiness, but some hilarious scenes. Hugh Grant makes a great asshole. 4 stars
9/24/05 D Buckley Better than the book 5 stars
3/20/05 Richard Pryor the best since 4 weddings and a funerla 5 stars
2/18/05 noob boob not crap, not great, just average 3 stars
1/17/05 DM Very, very funny 5 stars
1/03/05 HL Very Enjoyable Movie - Hugh Grant is Perfect... 4 stars
7/07/04 wattsski Absolutely brillaint and hillarious writing. I've seen it 28 times, it never gets old. 5 stars
5/03/04 Jan In my opinion the book is more interesting than the film. 3 stars
2/18/04 Pinkline Jones Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant 5 stars
2/11/04 mongo this is real shit! 1 stars
12/01/03 smarlie lose depth 2 stars
11/09/03 I Would Perfectly casted, excellent script and overall easy to identify with. I loved it. 4 stars
9/12/03 Goofy Maxwell If nothing else you learn that single parent dinner dates are BYOB (bring your own boy). 4 stars
4/15/03 JL Quite good, and funny. 5 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon The soup kitchen scene was a pants-pisser. 4 stars
3/30/03 Vitality1 this movie was MUCH better than American Pie & Down to Earth! they don't compare!!! 5 stars
3/01/03 karen surprisingly good! is hugh going to start making decent movies now? 4 stars
2/23/03 Mitsaso Funny and emotional 5 stars
2/11/03 brentley Probably the only Hugh Grant movie I actually enjoyed.... 4 stars
2/05/03 123 fresh and unique 5 stars
2/03/03 Monday Morning Oh please...this was right out of the sugar-sucking '60s. 2 stars
2/02/03 seldom scene excellent humor, easiest british film to comprehend 5 stars
1/27/03 Pinkline Jones No substance and no good looking CHICKS! 1 stars
1/24/03 Dom Great Film 5 stars
1/05/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng I love this movie! If you liked "American Pie" and "Down To Earth" you'll love it too! 5 stars
9/10/02 dora brilliant,beautiful,fantastic,cool,funny,the best film i`ve seen this year 5 stars
9/09/02 John McNew Good book, GREAT movie...mostly, that is 4 stars
9/05/02 Rob real human interest story it's all about men ladies learn something !!!! 4 stars
8/28/02 viking Hugh Grant's best performance in years 5 stars
8/25/02 hum entertaining 4 stars
8/01/02 Sylvie Alice Borden Enjoyable escapist comedy that critics want to fancy to be a morality play. 4 stars
8/01/02 Matthew Smith don't expect too many laughs, it's more dramatic and at times painful 4 stars
7/28/02 Adam Voorhees A real let down, not bad but not good enough by half 3 stars
7/25/02 Turtle Hilarious and charming. Truly a great movie. 5 stars
7/10/02 Kristen Great 5 stars
6/28/02 Christopher Loved it; a wonderful movie 5 stars
6/12/02 Heather Intelligent, well-crafted, insightful movie 5 stars
6/11/02 john excellent show ... tender, well acted and touching 4 stars
6/09/02 katsat Wonderful--touching, funny, believable, deep--the year's best mainstream movie so far 5 stars
6/04/02 natasha utterly charming; excellent performances and some really good laughs 5 stars
6/04/02 Mortis Intelligent Adult humor and emotion -obliviously not for everyone 4 stars
6/02/02 cleansparks hilarious, terrific performances 5 stars
6/01/02 Blubberbot Super boring 1 stars
5/31/02 Phil M. Aficionado Delightfully funny and yet thoughtful, with some excellent performances and characters 5 stars
5/30/02 Flick Chick they call this a chick flick? 1 stars
5/28/02 ajay what's up with that kid's eyebrows? I thought it was really funny 4 stars
5/27/02 Bunny 1 Kenobi Respectable acting, but I just hate movies about sick people 1 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Pretty predictable, but decent nonetheless. Good humor. 4 stars
5/24/02 bk grant is wonderful as the boy who finally grows up 4 stars
5/24/02 frank hilarious. touching without over-doing it 5 stars
5/23/02 Kristen Hugh Grant looked good! (sizzle sizzle) 5 stars
5/21/02 Gibbo Fantastic - loyal to the book. 5 stars
5/21/02 King Kong Insipid dialogue. Like diarrhea, I kept wondering when it would end. 1 stars
5/21/02 Greyjack I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Great acting all 'round, too. 5 stars
5/18/02 Jon Artus Hugh Grant...? Without Floppy Hair...? I like it! 4 stars
5/18/02 Oracle1 If you've seen Big, Big Daddy, The Kid, then you've seen most of this film. 1 stars
5/14/02 Doc Holiday great movie, good humour bit depressing though...see it anyway 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-May-2002 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Aug-2002




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