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About a Boy (2002)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 183
Fresh: 171 | Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: A winning comedy that benefits from Hugh Grant's boyish charms.

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 41 | Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: A winning comedy that benefits from Hugh Grant's boyish charms.


Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 31,159,068


Movie Info

Will is a 36-year-old underachiever with a fear of commitment that leads him to seek out relationships with single mothers, on the assumption that they are more desperate. However, plans go awry when he befriends with Marcus, the weird 12-year-old son of his latest target. Soon, Will and Marcus become friends, and as Will teaches Marcus how to be a cool kid, Marcus helps Will finally to grow up.

PG-13 (for brief strong language and some thematic elements)
Drama , Romance , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Peter Hedges , Chris Weitz , Paul Weitz
In Theaters:
Jan 14, 2003
Box Office:
Universal Pictures - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for About a Boy

All Critics (183) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (171) | Rotten (12) | DVD (26)

Even people who don't usually like Hugh Grant will be charmed by him in the scrappy, slightly scandalous comedy About a Boy.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The directors Paul and Chris Weitz -- the American Pie brothers -- have tried hard not to make a tearjerker, and at its best the movie is knowing and tart.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Mainstream comedies should all be this funny and tender and deftly performed.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Top Critic

Will is a flintier, more sarcastic and impatient character than we've seen Grant play, yet there's a core of decency about him.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Hugh Grant hilariously redefines the word "playboy" in the first half of this film, then gets human, without losing his comic edge, under the influence of the title waif.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

About a Boy is better than a feelgood movie, it's a feelgreat movie -- genuinely clever, affecting when you least expect it to be and funny from start to finish.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

If the story gets dangerously thin, Grant is pretty well flawless. And Collette, always good, is heartbreakingly believable.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
People Magazine

About a Boy is truly a love story, with dialogue and a story line that's both pop and universally timeless, which is gold for moviegoers.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

This is a pleasingly skewed Britcom that can be watched with mates or the other half. And, boy, is it funny.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Total Film

Genuinely funny and moving, this is both an endearing examination of masculinity and a challenge to male isolationism.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Radio Times

Grant's puckishness has become overly packaged; what's new about him here is his spiky hairdo. This movie is built on an actor as well as a character who is too intent to be on his best behavior.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Baltimore Sun

Grant, seeming to get better the further he's allowed to extend his range, delivers a terrific central performance, as acerbic but more complex than his sexy snake in Bridget Jones.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Screen International

About a Boy is an amusing film, full of bright lines and clever observation.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Observer [UK]

This charming coming of age comedy, a tale with heart and social message, offers Hugh Grant his best role to date.

Full Review… | March 18, 2013

Thankfully, this film is grounded and has a firm sense of reality and is consequently more affecting for it.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Digital Spy

Like Billy Wilder with a British bent, "About a Boy" lithely dances around uneasy comedy - attempted suicide, fragile kids of divorce, childhood bereft of memorable experiences. But it never trivializes them, emphasizing life's quality over its quantity.

Full Review… | September 25, 2010

Grant grows a heart in Hornby-book pic; teens+.

Full Review… | September 2, 2010
Common Sense Media

All in all, a nice breath of comedic fresh air as we get a witty, sweet, and hilarious British comedy with excellent performances from the versatile Hugh Grant and many others.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for About a Boy


Rated this high cause I dig Badly Drawn Boy. And cause if must do a chick-flick, you could do a lot worse.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


Nicey nice British comedy. Not even remotely believable in any way. It has not stood up to a rewatch.
I remember initially enjoying this, but over 10 years later, the message is a bit irritating, and so is Toni Collette here. Still, if you don't dig too deep, it is enjoyable enough. Not a must see, but sugary fluff for the background.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

"I am an island. I am bloody Ibiza!"

Based on Nick Hornby's best-selling novel, About A Boy is the story of a cynical, immature young man who is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.

I think I smiled all the way through `About a Boy,' a comic near-masterpiece derived from the best-selling novel by Nick Hornby. For the sake of accuracy, both the novel and the film should more rightly be titled `About Two Boys,' since the story focuses not only on 12-year old Marcus, but on 38-year old Will, a man totally dedicated to the proposition that any man who so desires can live quite happily on his own private little urban island, thank you very much. Will's `island' is his own London flat, which he has equipped with all the accoutrements of comfort and diversion that modern technology - in the form of computers, big screen TV's and DVD players - can afford. Who needs people when you have so much `stuff' to keep you content and occupied? Will thrives in his environment, much to the chagrin of his married couple friends who keep insisting that he must certainly be miserable without a wife and family to give his life meaning.

`About a Boy' establishes a tone and sticks with it to the end. The screenplay by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz (the latter two function as the film's directors as well) manages to take a potentially clichéd and predictable story and invest it with a warmth, wit and tenderness that are all-enveloping. The voice-over narration by both Will and Marcus, which introduces us to their characters and keeps us informed as to their mental progress throughout the film, is remarkably clever and droll. Yet, the characters never come across as smug, smart-alecky or flippant. Rather, they speak and behave in ways that are both believable and realistic. Hugh Grant gives his richest performance to date as Will, the man who refuses to grow up and assume the role of responsible adult, blithely unaware of the emotional depths that lie hidden under a surface of apathy and indifference. The superb Grant is more than matched by then newcomer Nicholas Hoult, an extraordinarily gifted young actor who doesn't look like the average `adorable' screen kid, and who makes Marcus into a very real, very likable and very sensitive young man. The remainder of the large cast is outstanding as well. Moreover, the film is very astute in its observation about just how easy technology has made it for us to isolate ourselves from one another.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer


Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

About a Boy Quotes

Will Freeman: Once you open your door to one person, anyone can come in.
– Submitted by Facebook U (2 years ago)
Marcus: [to Will before going to sing in show] What are you doing here? Will Freeman: Well, I heard you were about to commit social suicide so I thought I'd just drop by, you know
– Submitted by Johnathan M (2 years ago)
Will Freeman: Every man is an island.
– Submitted by Sridhar S (2 years ago)
Marcus: You don't give a shit about anyone and no one gives a shit about you!
– Submitted by Clarice N (2 years ago)
Marcus: A little. It's by black people mostly. And they're pretty angry most of the time. But sometimes they just want to have sex.
– Submitted by Timmy C (3 years ago)
Fiona: (talking to Marcus) When you sing it brings sunshine and happiness into my heart.
– Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)

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