Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

About a Boy

The trailers for "About a Boy" tell the story. We know from these thirty-second blips that Will (Hugh Grant) is a do-nothing bachelor who enjoys his independence and freedom from any attachments. We know that a twelve-year-old boy, Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), enters his child-free environment and changes everything. We know that Will is transformed and everyone lives happily ever after, and that it is all done with good humor.

So this looked like a flick I could easily miss. I am not fond of Grant and I am even less fond of "feel-good movies". However, my daughters saw it somewhat accidentally, and both were surprised to find that they liked it. They felt Grant played his role genuinely and with deeper feeling than they have seen before, and that the boy is likeable and not cute. So I figured I'd see for myself.

The story is improbable, predictable, hackneyed. What lifts it off the page is a slightly different approach - better writing - and the acting. Grant does come across as genuine and genuinely affected by Marcus. His transformation is unlikely yet we are willing to believe in it. Marcus is a truly nerdy little guy, whose star trek eyebrows, bad haircut, and little bow mouth never keep him from knowing who he is. It is the bright and persistent Marcus who engineers Will's change of heart, for his own self-preservation, and who ultimately benefits most from it.

The character of Marcus' depressed stuck-in-the-sixties mom does not, thank heaven, suddenly turn into Sandra Bullock. I would have liked to see her become a little more than caricature, but movies are short; there was barely time to develop Will and Marcus.

Lame story, well done. I can't give it five stars but I do think it's worth seeing. Not a flashy film and not a complicated story, so it's fine for video.

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