Weekend Film Recommendation: About a Boy

22 Jul

When I was digging through the Netflix Instant catalogue, there were multiple categories that this film came up in. Several people in the reviews labeled this as a “chick flick”, but I don’t necessarily agree with that description. While About a Boy certainly has some romantic comedy elements it is really a coming of age tale for a man in his late thirties. Plus, it is really easy to tag anything that stars Hugh Grant as a romantic comedy.

Will (Hugh Grant) is a rich playboy who lives in shallow extravagance due to the royalties of a popular Christmas song that his deceased father wrote. He goes to single parent support groups and claims to have a child just to hit on vulnerable women. When he meets a twelve year old boy (Nicholas Hoult) who is the outsider son of a depressed mother (Toni Colette) his life begins to change drastically as he is forced to let other people into his life and grow into full adulthood.

The film received a solid 93% on RottenTomatoes and garnered a lot of praise when it was released in 2002. Hugh Grant usually plays a bumbling good guy who stammers a lot, but actually switches to a smooth-talking player for this role. The script is snappy and insightful, providing an intriguing look at someone in denial about having to grow up. There is a love story, which primarily provides the idea that this is a “chick flick”, but it is really more of a backdrop to Will’s evolution into a man. The trailer really doesn’t do this movie justice in that regard, making it definitely have the appearance and sound of a romantic comedy, dropping popular names like Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary, and playing that annoying Five for Fighting song. However, the actual film is thoughtful and a poignant character study, and probably the only role that I really like Hugh Grant in.

Here is the trailer anyway, even though I don’t think it provides and accurate picture:

To add About a Boy to your Netflix Instant queue, click here.

If this doesn’t catch your fancy, try Poolhall Junkies, which I just couldn’t feel justified about giving a full blown recommendation, but is a rather entertaining film.


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