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funny and well acted, but lacking in deeper appeal
on 17 July 2016
About a Boy is a join-up-the-dots kind of film that seems to have been very well received. It is well acted and there is some interest in the rapport between Hugh Grant's good-for-nothing character and Nicholas Hoult's 12-year-old son of a depressed single mum, but it seems as arranged as the interiors where much of it is set. It is one of those films that leads the viewer too winsomely by the hand - mainly, it is its too obvious intent to entertain. It doesn't really have any soul, so that the suicide attempt of one of the characters just seems to skate over the surface of the screen. Toni Collette managed to make a much deeper impression in Muriel's Wedding, which also didn't shy away from difficult subject matter within a comic framework, but said a lot more about life than this one, and had a far edgier comic appeal. The double voice-over sets up the problems, seeming to box the film in - it is funny and holds the interest, but all the main actors have been better elsewhere.