About a Boy, released in 2002, is a semi-romantic comedy about a playboy who has decided to join a single parent's group in an effort to obtain the affections of the stereotypical, doting, and insecure single mom. There's only one catch...he isn't a parent. Will, played by Hugh Grant, winds up getting a little more than he bargained for with the appearance of a young boy, Marcus, who is seeking a role model. Marcus is the nerdy, unassuming child of single mom Fiona, who is an emotional basket case. After Fiona attempts to take her life, Marcus finds solace in the company of Will, much to Will's dismay. Will prefers to bide his time being emotionally unattached, where Marcus seeks the comfort and stability that he doesn't have with his mom. Though Marcus starts out being an obstacle in Will's way, he results in becoming Will's solution, as he teaches Will the joy and comfort of having people in your life to care about and spend your time with. Meanwhile, Will serves as a guide for Marcus' failed attempts at making friends and establishing himself as "cool" at his new school. Marcus ditches these attempts in a pivotal scene where he chooses to sing "Killing Me Softly" for his school talent show, in an effort to make his mom happy. Will comes to his aid at the show, making an even bigger fool of himself and saving Marcus from being the laughing stock of his school. This act is a prime example of Will's newfound ability to care about someone other than himself. I would argue that Marcus doesn't make as profound of a journey in the film, though he does end up with a few more friends than he started out with.
I found the film to be emotionally moving, in that, it was wonderful to see the compassion, care, and courage that the two main characters showed toward each other. It was also heartbreaking to watch Marcus go through the repercussions of watching his own mother try to kill herself. I would say that this film is a semi-romantic comedy because there is a touch of romance in the film, especially in the relationship between Will and Rachel. There also is a lot of depth and warmth to the relationship between Will and Marcus that isn't typical in a lot of comedies. I feel that overall, this film was incredibly well done, well-written, and well-acted. I couldn't imagine any other actor being in any of the roles in the film. It truly is outstanding work.