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About a Boy

Starring Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette and Nicholas Hoult
Screenplay by Peter Hedges and Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz
Based on the novel by Nick Hornby
Directed by Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz

IN SHORT: Avery enjoyable comedy. [Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some thematic elements. 105 minutes]

It would be even more enjoyable, at least for us, if it didn't need to drop a pair of songs into the last act to pad the running time. About a Boy is already long enough without them. The songs add nothing to it.

Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) has never held a job a day in his life. He lives off the royalties from a Christmastime song his father wrote back in 1958. Single and quite happy to spend his solitude buying CDs and watching teevee, Will is pushing forty by the time he discovers that dating is actually quite a bit of fun; even moreso if the woman being dated is a single mom. Don't ask us to explain the logic of that, the comedy of About a Boy moves at such a pace that we were laughing too hard and missed any explanation.

Hugh Grant hasn't had this funny a role to play, ever. What is even more of a compliment is the fact that his decidedly single character is, on paper, simply unlikeable. Smiles notwithstanding, Will isn't relationship material. What's even more despicable is that he sets his dating sites on a meeting of single parents, flat out fibbing about the existence of a wife and young son. Single moms may be easier targets than trying to find truly single people but it sure beats having to do the work, especially when Will doesn't seem to have any friends to help with the usual dating rituals. To make a long story short, a date with one of the single moms in this group leads Will to meet roughly twelve year old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) who decides that Will would make a fine dad, and husband for his mom Fiona (Toni Collette). Fiona is, to be kind, a real piece of work and an emotional shipwreck waiting to happen. She wants nothing to do with Will, which is fine by him but when he finally meets the one gal (Rachel Weisz) who makes him feel all gushy inside, well, there is the matter of the story that he's got a kid. Into the breach is ushered Marcus and we're off to the races.

We're filling in the gaps quickly since this page is seeing print long hours after the film releases in the major markets and we're rushing to catch up. About a Boy is flat out fun and, were it not for us nitpicking about those songs, would have landed an even higher rating than the one we're about to give it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Enough, he would have paid . . .


Highly recommended. About a Boy would make a great date flick, IOHO though its language and sexual themes are too adult for anyone not into mid teens. There were a number of single parents at our theater, all lugging kidlets who had to be pulled out of their seats within the first five minutes.

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