Wonder Boys - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wonder Boys Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 2010
As far as being a writer goes, I may personally just be a hack amateur wannabe, and, even though I plan on being a professor, I'm not there yet. Regardless of all that though, this movie really clicked with me, and I found myself really tapping into its frequency.

The inclusion of Bob Dylan makes this already great film even better. If you're not into Dylan, or at least not later Dylan, you probabky won't agree. I think it fits perfectly though, so I'm glad it's in the movie. Even though my intro to this review showed my inability to completely relate, a movie about passionate people struggling to deal with all life puts them through is something that everyone can get, even if the specifics differ from the viewers' own personal experiences.

The weary, stoner, neurotic Grady Tripp is a great character. He's someone you can love and feel for, yet he's still very ragged, and you wonder why you should continue to care, if you ever really did to begin with. Michael Douglas is fantastic as Tripp, giving one of his best performances in years. Tobey Maguire, I feel, is channeling Bud Cort's work from Harold & Maude, and it pays off. He also gives an excellent performances as the troubled and mysterious prodigy. Katie Holmes has a smaller role, but she's also pretty good. Sometimes I forget that she does have talent. Downey Jr. and McDormand also give fine performances as always.

I liked that this was a small movie, and that it has high artistic vlaue, but that it isn't too pretentious or artsy, and that it became a sleeper hit. I haven't read the source material, but it seems like something I could see myself enjoying.

There aren't a whole lot of overtly cinematic moments, with lots of abundant style and flair, but this is definitely a "film" as opposed to a "movie". This ranks, along with L.A. Confidential, as Curtis Hanson's best film, and one you would do well to see. It's charming, touching, and very entertaining.
Super Reviewer
May 2, 2011
It's perfectly fine. I don't really buy anybody's character though. Michael Douglas, a depressive writer? Tobey Maguire, a psychopath? Katie Holmes, a writing ingenue? No, no, and no.
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2011
"Wonder Boys" is just a lot of fun. It's not really saying anything in the way of college professors, writers or students, but it certainly gets all of their personalities correct. The movie is more about character and dialogue- this is an actors film. The cast works wonders with terrific work from Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes and Rip Torn. "Wonder Boys" is witty, smart, energetic and extremely well acted.
Super Reviewer
½ March 12, 2011
I don't like movies about movies and this is the next worse thing. A self-indulgent writer's fantasy. Putting a pair of glasses on A-list stars and making them waffle on about obscure facts doesn't turn them into convincing academics. Typical quirky American indy with Tobey Maguire playing a creepy kid again.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
This is a really fun story with a lot of great characters. While it can be a little pretentious at times, I feel like that wasn't the message of the movie but the particular character Tobey Maguire plays. Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr. are a powerhouse and create some really great moments together. The story tries to capture multiple people and very critical points in their lives. It's not simply a coming of age story or a mid-life crisis story, it's a combination of sorts. In the end it's a very worthwhile and charming movie.
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2009
Cast: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr., Katie Holmes, Rip Torn, Jane Adams, Richard Thomas, Alan Tudyk, Philip Bosco, George Grizzard, Kelly Bishop

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

Summary: This endearing slice of life centers on unraveling English professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), who's forced to confront his writer's block, fear of aging and irresponsibility as he watches a student (Tobey Maguire) surpass him. Meanwhile, he contends with the consequences of an affair and fends off the advances of a young boarder (Katie Holmes). Steve Kloves earned an Oscar nod for his script.

My Thoughts: "This has to be my favorite movie that Michael Douglas has done to date. Just really loved everything about this film. I am disappointed that I waited so long to watch it though. Tobey Maguire was so good as the quirky, mysterious, brilliant pathological liar. I loved all the characters in this film. It was casted quite brilliantly. I was surprised at how funny this film was considering its listed as a drama. But it had lots of humor in it, especially with all the predicaments they find themselves in. Robert Downey Jr. was his funny self as usual in this. Just a very smartly done film in my opinion. Haven't read the book so I can't compare it. But after seeing the film, I would like to. So its got a great story, good acting, great characters, it's funny, and it even has some good music to top it off. Just a fun watch. Give a go if you have yet to see it."
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2009
A good Michael Douglas movie. :)
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2009
Probably the best movie about writers. It's literary yet not terribly pretentious - just enough for we writers to feel entitled.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2009
Michael Douglas portrays the pothead professor/writer Grady Tripp struggling with writer's block in this brilliant, comical film. Tripp befriends one of his students James Leer(Tobey Maguire) who he believes in as a writer. There are some humorous situations involving Tripp and James trying to find a jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe, a college girl and student of his boarding at his home who is quite enamored with him, his publisher portrayed by Robert Downey Jr, and the colossal book he's been writing that even he can't explain. There's a lot going on in this film, so it's rather difficult to summarize in a brief review. I believe this 2000 film is definately one of the better, funniest films of the twenty first century thus far.
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2009
It really was a decent movie but the characters never did developed to it's fullness, everything was so open and mysterious. It has has some rather weird funny moments that were the cheers of the film. Grady Tripp is a professor/writer living in Pittsburgh who is struggling with writer's block. Whilst doing this, he also manages to get the chancellor pregnant. In the meantime, he and a college student, James Leer are trying to find a rare jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe, and a college girl, Hannah Green boarding with Grady has a bit of a crush on him.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2009
"Undependable. Unpredictable. Unforgettable."

In this comedy, a middle-aged man juggles his problems with women, literature, and a career, while a younger man chases the artifact of his dreams. Pittsburgh college professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) is currently single following his divorce from his third wife; after publishing an acclaimed first novel, Grady has been working on a follow-up, but he's been sidelined by a severe case of writer's block. Grady has more than his writing career to think about; his affair with one of the (married) chancellors at the University of Pittsburgh (Frances McDormand), has resulted in her pregnancy, while Hannah (Katie Holmes), a student boarding at Grady's house, has developed a crush on him. While Grady is obsessed with his book, one of his students (Tobey Maguire) has an obsession of his own: finding a jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe.

Michael Douglas reminds us all that despite having been in nothing but tosh for a decade or so, he is still a pretty good actor. He plays Grady, a college professor who's midlife crisis reaches a climax on the weekend his wife leaves him, his editor is in town and his mistress has some big news. Highly enjoyable comedy-drama, with an excellent supporting cast (particularly Tobey Maguire). Not life-changing, but well worth a look.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2007
Michael Douglas plays Professor Grady Tripp who is grappling with his difficult second novel, when an enigmatic student and his drug addled publisher take him on a journey of self discovery over one surreal weekend. Probably best described as Fear And Loathing for the leather elbow patch set, The Wonder Boys is a stoner film with a difference. Sometimes when a writer writes about a writer writing, it can be horribly pretentious and self indulgent. But sometimes, if done with the right level of wit and self awareness, it can be a hugely enjoyable diversion; Adaptation is one example and this is another. It does skirt around the borders of self indulgence, but Douglas has never been less obnoxious and his supporting cast, particularly Robert Downey Jr in his familiar guise as likable self-absorbed hedonist are all good fun. The dialogue makes a decent fist of emulating the witty banter of the screwball comedies of the golden age and although it does descend into the usual feelgood sappiness by the conclusion, it takes you on an refreshingly offbeat ride along the way.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2006
Starting out somewhat slow and uncertain where it wants to go, this movie about an author / professor with writer's block while discovering a writing talent, gets better by the minute with a really quirky humor and characters. The acting is good (there is Robert Downey Jr. involved, duh!), but I wasn't entirely sure what the film was trying to say for a pretty long time. That didn't keep me from being amused, especially by the second half.
Super Reviewer
½ August 26, 2006
Absolutely magnificent. Brilliant and outstanding. A wonderful and enjoyablely entertaining movie. It's a hilarious piece of work. Written, directed and performed wounderously. Director, Curtis Hansons best film since L.A Confidential. He truly understands the comedy and the drama of the film and knows how to place them nicely. Perfect performances. Michael Douglas is terrific. It's his most charasmatic and remarkable performance ever. Tobey Maguire is subtle and great, a charming and ethusiastic young talent. Robert Downey Jr. acts with great comic flair.
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2008
A very interesting dramedy, that gets too tragic at times, but never unrealistic. The writing is excellent, so is the direction by Curtis Hanson. Michael Douglas is really good, Tobey Maguire has yet to convince me of his acting skills, since I didn't find his performance here to be anything but average. Frances McDormand (one of my Top 3 favorite actresses) and Robert Downey Jr. were great in their small roles and even Katie Holmes did a decent job.
Super Reviewer
½ March 21, 2008
This film is a hilarious comedy of errors, but this one has heart.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
Too many twists. Good cast though.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2007
James Leer: Professor Tripp? Can I ask you a question?
Grady Tripp: Yeah, James.
James Leer: What are we going to do with... it?
Grady Tripp: I don't know. I'm still trying to figure out how to tell the Chancellor I murdered her husband's dog.
James Leer: You?
Grady Tripp: Trust me, James, when the family pet's been assassinated, the owner doesn't want to hear one of her students was the trigger man.
James Leer: Does she want to hear it was one of her professors?
Grady Tripp: ...I've got tenure.

A great movie about writers. One of Michael Douglas' best movies, and the rest of the cast only helps out as well. A very funny movie that's also very real.

Michael Douglas stars as a professor and writer who has taken 7 years to continue to write his next book. He is also a pot smoker and having an affair with the wife of his boss, played wonderfully by Francis McDormand.

Robert Downey Jr. also stars in one of his great supporting performances as Douglas' gay editor who has great chemistry with Douglas.

Katie Holmes is also here in a role that shows how not annoying she can be when paired with Cruise in real life.

Tobey Maguire is the other main star who shows a dark kind of character much different than the innocence he has as Peter Parker.

Even Rip Torn shows up in a small role as an obnoxious showboat of a writer, who has had more success than Douglas.

The movie's plot is nothing too structured, it mainly revolves around Douglas interacting with these different characters and trying to get his life on track after a certain number of incidents are presented to him.

The movie is just very entertaining to watch, Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential) shows again how he doesn't need to confine himself to a specific genre, he can do all kinds of films. There is a lot of humor throughout, and a good soundtrack as well, including an Oscar winning Bob Dylan song. Good flick.

James Leer: Now, that is a big trunk. It holds a tuba, a suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly.
Grady Tripp: That's just what they used to say in the ads.
Super Reviewer
April 1, 2007
nice to see michael douglas not playing his stock character
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2007
Pretty much everyone involved gives their best performances ever, especially Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire. Even Katie Holmes isn't too terribly offensive, though her part is pretty small.

Anyway, this is a near-perfect movie that gets tripped up by diminishing returns. The last half of the movie, though still great, isn't nearly as strong as the first half. Other than that, Wonder Boys is both a classy and intelligent comedy, and a movie that can be touching even without manipulative sentimentality. Gold star for Michael Chabon!
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