About A Boy

Based o­n Nick Hornby's (Fever Pitch, High Fidelity) best-selling 1998 novel, About A Boy features Hugh Grant reprising his role as the charming, intelligent cad (from Bridget Jones's Diary) with a storybook spin–the Tin Man gets a heart. The writing/directing wunderkind team of Chris and Paul Weitz (American Pie, Chuck and Buck), backed by co-screenwriter Peter Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape), and the production savvy of Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions and Britain's Working Title Films (Billy Elliot) combine to carry Hornby's dramedy home to roost in north-end London. Here we have our requisite cast of English eccentrics: Will (Hugh Grant), the shallow 'n' callow rich, yet jobless thirty-something looking for dispensable love in all the wrong places, Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), the troubled 12-year-old yearning for a father-figure, and Fiona (Toni Collette), Marcus' flaky and depressed hippie mom. While Will is scouring the local single parents support group for Teflon women, he meets Suzie (Victoria Smurfit) and her friend Fiona's bullied kid, Marcus. Learning that Will has misrepresented himself as a father with a toddler, Marcus manipulates Will into befriending him and his suicidal mother. Will's emotional awakening is derived from this unlikely bonding with Marcus (and his mom), as he matures with the knowledge that 'no man is an island', nor is real happiness obtained from selfish pursuits. Hugh Grant really blossoms in this character–reinventing his habitual bumbling, stuttering public-schooled persona to include newly uncharted emotional depth in a comic role. Newcomer Nicholas Hoult richly deserves a laudable nod for defying the facile option of turning Marcus into the generic saccharine Hollywood stereotype. About A Boy manages to do the same.

 

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