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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2011
Will is self centred and has cast off all his responsibilities. But during one of his more dubious scams to date single mothers, he is forced to reconsider his moral fibre after coming into contact with a 12 year old outcast named Marcus.

Adapted from the massively popular book written by Nick Hornby {Fever Pitch & High Fidelity} About A Boy easily translates well to the screen without truly breaking free of the modest premise. Oddly enough for such a British picture, this is directed by an American, Paul Weitz, who along with his brother Chris, brought the world American Pie! It works, largely to the undervalued comic talents of one Hugh Grant {Will}. I would go so far as to say that without Grant leading the film, this would have been a flop, all the highlights on offer are when Grant is on the screen. Expressive with his face and delivering his lines with a natural high, Grant nicely lures the audience into the less than admirable Will's hands. Which is quite a trick considering that Will is a morally dubious scum bag!

Nicholas Hoult {Marcus} is OK as child actors go, but here he is given far to much to do. Which is another reason why Grant is so important to the film being a success, he shoulders much of the emotional burden, letting Hoult breathe what life he can into poor young Marcus {worst hair cut on film ever}. Solid support comes from Toni Collette and Rachael Weisz, and Weitz's direction is smooth and unobtrusive, with Badly Drawn Boy's score an integral part of the story. Yet as much as I enjoy the film myself, I still feel frustrated that it didn't turn out better than it did. A double handed narration from both lead characters intrudes on the flow of the plot, and the pay off is ultimately an "oh" moment. So to me it's an OK movie made into a good one courtesy of one of Britain's best light comedy actors. 7/10
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on 3 January 2009
Middle aged bachelor Will (Grant) gets more than he bargained for when he meets Malcolm (Hoult) a young lad who wants a partner for his suicidal mum.

Hugh Grant, the romantic guy of the nineties. You may ask what makes About a Boy different from every other romance films. Why should you spend time watching a film that could easily be a repeat of another one of his flicks?

With his roles in films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, his characters were always chasing the girl but there is more to Will than these stereotypical parts. He is not Prince Charming. He is not a babbling geek. He is a git. A man with no regard for anything but himself. Grant has made Will the man any viewer would love to hate. But yet he manages to be unbelievably funny and charming, and you can't help but love him. Grant here has shed that everyday loveable loser who can't commit into a man with personal baggage and an agenda. Juxtaposed with Nicholas Holt and you have a fine onscreen duo.

Little would we know that the lad playing Malcolm would become a teenage hero in award winning teenage gritty drama Skins. This well thought out debut performance puts faith back into the future.

The stereotypical geek protagonist is ridiculed too often by picking up on media conventions such as computers, glasses and vast knowledge etc. But there is a spin here because Malcolm is called a geek because of his appearance. The baggy hippy clothes, the bowl haircut and the solo singing make him an outcast and he is labelled a geek for it and here we explore the depths of his character and though he is portrayed as a geek on the outside he is a child wanting love on his inside, a fine representation. This sentimental technique which some may find obvious but undeniably rightful.

Sounds cheesy right? Wrong. This Nick Hornby adaptation is far from it. Unpredictable, consistent, funny and without resorting to clichés and slapstick humour creates a sharp originality. The script also preaches through strong real life issues including growing up, suicide, bullying and loneliness. About a Boy is not afraid to get its messages across.

Though Grant and Hoult are the stand out stars, Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine) gives a knockout supporting role as Malcolm's mother.

About a Boy is a fine real romantic drama that preaches through hidden messages and delivers through some stand out performances.

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on 12 December 2003
This film is brilliant and a really good adaptation of the book. I read the book first and loved it and decided to see the film. Only the ending had changed dramtically, and it was a good idea as the book ends wonderfully but would not transfer well onto the big screen.
I loved the way that one minute you were laughing out loud and the next you felt like crying for Marcus and Hugh Grant's character Will.
Its a great film that all Hugh Grant fans will love but even if you hate his work you will like this, its a completely different character to the simpering bloke you see in some of his other films. Also good in this were Toni Collette of Sixth Sense fame, and Rachel Weiz a.k.a Evelyn from The Mummy.
A big promise for the future is shown in Nicholas Hault playing Marcus of which half of the movie rests on his young shoulders. He pulls it off amazingly well and the solo at the end is just so good in its cringworthiness!!!
See the film and read the book, in either order because they both brilliant!!!
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on 6 January 2003
Grant plays, Will, a rich, lazy and irresponsible 38 year old, with little better to occupy his time than a daily dose of Countdown and chasing women. He strikes upon the idea of meeting single-mums, his rational being that they are easy prey and as a result of one of his liaisons, his life becomes complicated by the introduction of Marcus. Marcus, (Nicholas Hoult) is a twelve year old with a lot of problems on his hands, he is bullied and laughed at school, his hippy-ish, vegan mother has tried to kill herself and permanently looks like she is on the verge of doing it again, but his outlook is surprisingly mature. He strikes up a sort of friendship with Will and what entails is a charming tale of how man educates boy, and in turn boy unwittingly educates man.
Much had been made of Hugh Grant's new haircut for the film, gone the floppy fringe and in it's place a new spikier messed up look. Well he may have a new haircut, but he is as likeable as ever, playing something slightly sharper and more complex than the amiable buffoon and delivering an excellent performance. Hoult as Marcus makes an adequate if slightly unspectacular debut, but there is good support from the ever dependable Toni Collette, Victoria Smurfitt and Rachel Weisz. The Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack is excellent even if towards the end the songs begin to sound a little over-familiar.
Overall, I think Hornby can be pleased that his book has been reasonably faithfully interpreted. A few minor changes have occurred (from what I can remember of the book) but as a film by itself, this is a frequently amusing, interesting, bitter sweet drama that is perfect for a night in with the girlfriend.
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on 12 June 2005
The phrase "well it was good, but not as good as the book" is a phrase very often used when reviewing an adaptation of a successful novel and in many ways this is very true of "About a Boy".
Now before anyone thinks I'm having a pop at the film I'm not, the film is still excellent. A wonderful piece of relationship storytelling that is both touching and intelligent and also contains some extremely amusing asides on top.
Hugh Grant is on top form in this and proves that he can play something other than the dizzy floppy haired English Gent. In this he goes through a whole range of emotions and yet pulls it off with a considerable amount of subtly and panache that he remains utterly convincing throughout. Nicholas Hoult is similarly perfectly cast as the solemn misfit 12 year old and works a hundred times better than a "cuter" child star would have done.
However as good as the film is, I would recommend all who enjoyed the film (and those that didn't in fact) to read the original book by Nick Hornby, which includes larger roles for several of the characters, especially the Ellie character, and lots more relationship interplay and the film.
The one criticism of the film is the "happy every after ending" which is just a little bit too happy for anything other than Hollywood but on the whole a well recommended watch.
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on 28 November 2007
A very amusing, wistful, typical British movie. Hugh Grant plays the lead, a self-centered, well off, (his father wrote a best selling xmas song from which he lives off of the royalties) lazy, batchelor, who is simply out to conquer attractive women and then move on when he thinks the relationship is getting to intense. When he finally falls for Rachel Weisz, he weaves a web of half truths (lies!) that backfire on him just when he thinks he has found the "one".The actor who plays the "boy" is great and is the catalyst that shoves Grant firmly into the real world of relationships, from which he has hitherto avoided. The scene where in order to rescue the young lad from making a fool of himself at his school concert, he comes on playing guitar, thus helping him to sing "Killing me Softly" and when it goes better than expected, cannot resist continuing beyond a sensible point, is brilliant.
The soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy is very good and goes perfectly with the film. A good adaptation of a Nick Hornby book which is enjoyable for many more than just one viewing. Oh and remember "single parents, together, forever!" watch you'll understand.
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on 3 September 2003
In this box set you get the book by Nick hornby, the film starring Hugh Grant and the soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.
The book, is a brilliant read, tackles subjects like suicude, divorce and the meaning of life and manages to do so in a humerous way without being tactless, that I think is quite an acomplishment in itself.
The film, whilst not covering the same ground of philisophical thouughts which are explored in the book, also misses out a few of the storylines in the book, for example Marcus' relationship with Ellie is far more complex in the book, and it's hardly mentioned here. The 'Kidz Rock' concert, it also not actually in the book. Despite the straying from the book content, the film is brilliant. Hugh Grant is comfortable in the role of Will, and pulls of one of his best performances yet, manage to show Will as the cocky, arrogant, person he is, but still make you feel for him when he entire philosophy of life is chaged by the appearance of Marcus in his life.
The soundtrack, by Badly Drawn Boy is brilliant, with a complete mixture of songs there really is something for every mood.
This box set has kept me amused for hours, ad I can read/watch/listen to it as many times as I want, and it ha syet failed to get old.
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on 21 November 2002
Are you a man or a woman? How old are you? Both of these may effect how this film impacts you. I'm a 32 year old unmarried man, and so caught the brunt of this film's message (I assume the protagonist is not far from his mid-30s, and he's _very_ male and _very_ unmarried). But I know at least one woman who really enjoyed this film as well, so you don't have to be in my demographic to get a kick from it.
Overall, an excellent movie. Let's start simple: the soundtrack. It was so good I almost bought it! However I'm not really a "soundtrack buyer" type person, so I didn't in the end. But it's got a great bunch of songs in the movie anyway, and they seemed to fit in perfectly with the story.
Next: the genre. What type of movie is this? Well it's not what I'd call a romantic comedy. It is more comedy than romantic - in fact it is very very funny. Although there is a romance in this movie, it is more a romance of the "self" - the main character coming to love and hate parts of himself he wasn't even conscious of. The main relationship in the movie is between the man, and the boy who comes into his life. And, by the way, the portrayal of the boy by Nicholas Hoult is absolutely brilliant and scarily convincing. And Hugh Grant is perfect, with his part being closer to his Bridget Jones days than his 4 Weddings days. Toni Collette, as the boy's mother, is just fabulous. Apart from the relationship between the boy and the man, the relationship between the boy and his mother is the other important one in the movie: and it is heart-rending, heart-warming, frustrating, and quite realistic.
When I say “heart-rending”, in relation to this movie, I mean it. Either I am emotionally unstable (probably) or this movie is very touching (definitely). I had to hold back my tears a number of times and at the end just had to give in to the old water works. Hugh Grant's character is torn apart and rebuilt in the crucible of a forced growing up, brought on by the boy coming into his life. "About a Boy" talks to men like myself in an almost subconscious way - I found myself moved by things and not knowing why. But I just knew it was important. And the resolution and finale on stage was just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Bravo Hugh!
I've watched this movie twice and will probably do so again. I feel it has a real message for myself and says something significant. And it's great fun to watch!
A quick footnote: I'm actually a fan of Nick Hornby (he wrote the book the movie was based on). If you are a Nick Hornby fan I strongly recommend you see this movie. Forget the half-hearted attempts made to bring "High Fidelity" on to the screen. This one is the real thing! It really brings the book to life - it is definitely a "Nick Hornby Film", if you know what I mean.
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on 5 May 2007
The enormously popular British novelist Nick Hornby writes books about men who, rather than outgrow their arrested development, concoct ridiculous strategies to remain irresponsible and selfish. Presumably, men like his stories because they see guys screwing up in ways they wish they could. And women seem to go for them because they love the man-child idea--up to a point that is, because Hornby always sees to it that his hero's m.o. backfires, shoving him into adulthood and, as a bonus, shaping him into a sensitive human being. Such was the fate of John Cusack's Rob Gordon in High Fidelity (2000), the first hit movie based on a Hornby bestseller, and so it goes for Hugh Grant's Will in this Hornby adaptation. Will is a cad who, in order to meet women, fakes his way into a single parents support group. The plot banks a couple hairpin turns to introduce a despondent mother (Toni Collette) and her wise-beyond-his-years son (Nicholas Hoult). The two guys--the man-child and the child-man--buddy up and, after another tumble of events, the kid beards as the man's son so Will can seduce another woman (Rachel Weisz).
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on 12 July 2008
Having bought this DVD a couple of years ago because it came in a set with Love Actually and Notting Hill, I have only just gotten round to watching it. And my have I been missing out? About a boy is an incredible film and will appeal to all ages and both genders. Great family viewing as it is not littered with swearing like the majority of films around and no cringy 'oh my god i can't believe i'm watching this with my children/ parents' moments!
All in all a fantastic performance from Hugh Grant, and a wonderful feel-good comedy (which is actually funny) that i am sure to watch again and again... just maybe not as much as i watch Love Actually cos that would be impossible!
Highly recommended
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