About a Boy Reviews
Everyone knows someone who is just a little short of where he should be in terms of life and family. Not that every person should get married, have kids, etc., but there comes a point where everyone should grow up. And despite how fun it might be to sleep with lots of people, party all the time, etc., the fact is the meaning of life is to gradually learn, improve and move on. When people reach the age of 30, 40, etc. and they still act like they are 22 year old college students, denial has set in. These people do not want to admit they are getting older. Yes, with medical advances, people can certainly postpone having children, and consequently marriage, until later in life, but who wants to voluntarily be a father of a 2 year-old at 40?? Having both a 6 year old and 2 year old at 29, I'm telling you...you do NOT want to chase down a 2 year-old after getting gray hair.
But I digress...
The example I talk about is pretty much the personality of Hugh Grant's character, Will, in About a Boy. Having inherited royalties from a popular Christmas song his father wrote, "Santa's Super Sleigh," Will rides around town all day in his Audi TT scoping the chicks and avoiding responsibility. If he is home, he's watching TV. If he is out, he is trying to get laid. Sound like anyone you know? If so, then you know there are always a few characters, usually relatives, around telling him what he should be doing to straighten his life and grow up. Will, as you guessed, has these same caring people in his life who constantly try to point him down the path of the straight and narrow. Hugh Grant is the perfect actor to play this part since he has played the reluctant father (9 Months) and slimeball boyfriend (Bridget Jones' Diary) in other movies. Throw in his brilliant comic timing and a witty script and you see what I mean.
The bright spot in this movie, aside from Hugh's flawless performance, is the unusually interesting child actor, Nicholas Hoult, who plays Marcus, the boy who will change Will's life. Marcus, like Will, has needs. He is a young man who is forced to be older than he is since he has a mother, played by Toni Collette, who is suicidal and a basket-case. Unlike Will, however, Marcus narrows down what he needs to make his life better and seeks it out. In this case, he believes he needs another person in he and his mom's life, specifically a husband for his mom/dad for him.
Through a series of circumstances, which I will not go into since it will take away from much of the humor of the story, Marcus and Will meet. Forcibly, Marcus inches more into Will's life until Will realizes that Marcus is what he is missing. Although the story is a bit fed to the viewer, in typical Hollywood fashion, watching Will transform from a self-absorbed single guy who measured the progress of his day in "units" (which is hilarious...and equally pathetic) to a mentor and father figure for young Marcus is heart-warming. I will admit it is easier for me to be touched by this movie than single people though since the impact you see on the screen is that of a child on an adult. Those who do not have children may not fully understand this impact kids have on their parents/loved ones.
In any case, About a Boy is a must-see, if only for Hugh Grant's comedic brilliance. Though I hear the book is different in its approach of telling the story, the movie is definitely worth a look.
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.