Monday, May 27, 2002

About a Boy (IMDB) (Netflix)
My mom said, "nothing special" and after all it stars Hugh Grant, so I was prepared to not like this message comedy much at all. He's is a self-professed emotional island who's happy to live off his dad's song-writing royalties, and would be quite the cad if he weren't such a ne'er-do-well. He does need the occasional girlfriend, however, and cooks up what he thinks is the perfect solution--recently single moms who need a transitional guy for awhile until they realize they're not ready for a deep relationship, and will dump him before he has to do the same to them. Brilliant strategy, but the execution is flawed, and he ends up being adopted by a hasn't-hit-his-stride kid with a mom with more than enough issues to make Hugh look like a role model.

Well-managed expectations aside, "Boy" does have a few things going for it, such as a Nick "High Fidelity" Hornby novel for a starting point that keeps the sap from flowing too heavily, and a Grant who's lost the prep school 'do and is virtually stammer-free. Unlike the TV sitcom Seinfeld, in which the point was that there was no point, "About a Boy" is very much about the message; our relationships are what makes it all worthwhile. Women will be satisfied by the ending, and guys can give in on the "which movie" decision without only a little pain, and build up points for Sum of All Fears or Undercover Brother.