More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 41.03%
Worth A Look47.01%
Average: 3.42%
Pretty Bad: 1.71%
Total Crap: 6.84%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Road Not Taken, The by Jay Seaver

Great Battle, The by Jay Seaver

True Fiction by Jay Seaver

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

About a Boy
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"Hugh Fidelity"
4 stars

After spending the past few weeks with Scorpion Kings, Spider-Men and Jedi Knights, I was eagerly anticipating a low-key “people” movie; one in which people sat around and talked, laughed and argued without anyone brandishing a laser sword or having the set explode all over the place. The powers that be at Universal Studios realize the importance of creative ‘counter-programming’ and have opted to release About a Boy up against the juggernaut that is Star Wars Episode 2. Creative scheduling will only go so far, though, and a lot depends on how good the movie actually is.

Fortunately for movie fans who like to mix a little good-natured and emotional cinematic roughage in with their big-budget popcorn flicks, About a Boy is a winning little comedy. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) and directed with considerably more style than you’d expect by Chris & Paul Weitz (American Pie), About a Boy tells the story of an egocentric bachelor who gets his heart warmed by an eccentric young boy. Before you disregard About a Boy as a push-button or manipulative “chick-flick”, you should know that it’s actually a sincerely heartfelt movie that’s also very funny very often.

Will Freeman likes to refer to himself as an “island”, the exception to the long-understood rule that no man truly is one. Though he has a few casual friends and a not-altogether distasteful personality, Will is just content to lounge about in his apartment, watching television and living off the residuals of his late father’s now-famous Christmas carol. Will commits to a few minor romantic dalliances, but never wants to share any part of himself long enough to acquire an actual girlfriend.

After realizing how many single mothers are available in London, Will devises an unseemly plan to find a few partners by pretending to be a single Dad and frequenting a local support group. This is, of course, a rather despicable thing to lie about, but his plan ultimately does more harm than good; through a series of entertaining mishaps, Will forms a reluctant friendship with an oddball adolescent named Marcus.

Marcus suffers from having a terminally depressed mother and very few friends at school while Will continues his life of prideful isolation, but the two misfits slowly help each other to learn a bit about the importance of having a few reliable friends. Things get fairly emotional and even quite touching as the movie goes on, but About a Boy manages to avoid ever falling into the sap trap, and it’s full of characters you’ll start to love.

Hugh Grant delivers one of his best performances yet, and it’s a welcome departure from the stammering Everyman role that he’s grown to master. It’s a testament to Grant’s multi-faceted performance that the audience continually cares about Will, despite the fact that he’s basically a selfish and manipulative lout. Grant has a lot of great support in actresses Toni Collette, who plays Marcus’ emotionally unbalanced mother, and Rachel Weisz, playing the woman who may just melt Will’s overprotected heart. Lesser-known actress Victoria Smurfit also chimes in with a strong turn as one of Will’s dismissed flames-turned-unlikely friend. Newcomer Nicholas Hoult delivers a totally enjoyable performance as the affably off-center Marcus. With a lesser (or more cutesy) young actor in the role, Marcus could have become too cloying to be effective, but Hoult pulls off the difficult trick of simply seeming like a “real kid”.

That a film based on Hornby’s widely loved novel and featuring a cast this impressive manages to entertain is no big surprise. But to see a comedy with such warmth and tenderness offered up by the directors of American Pie is surely a welcome bit of news. Some movies pretend to offer up something worthy of your emotional investment, yet deliver tired cliché and manipulative pap. About a Boy is a more sincere film than that. There are a few messages littered throughout, but this movie is no tearjerker with a pre-planned agenda.

A movie filled with solid laughs, About a Boy allows us to spy on the tentative friendships of a handful of lovably flawed characters. About a Boy is fairly warm & fuzzy, but never in a simpering or maudlin way, it’s very funny without becoming silly, and most importantly – it never feels fake.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/17/02 10:45:20
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

6/22/14 Richard Brandt Sweet; her reaction hearing Will worked at Amnesty International is priceless 4 stars
3/16/12 Amanda Oh ReallyBickcock, you have better lock playing with yourself. 4 stars
7/29/10 ReallyBickcock I have a really huge dick and i wanna fuck the moms in this movie 5 stars
7/01/10 ddfdfgh this film was very boring 3 stars
7/27/08 Samantha Pruitt hugh grant was great, very sweet movie! 4 stars
5/04/08 Amiida Hilarious,but still loyal to the book,just fantastic 5 stars
4/07/08 beau bloody hilarious. Hugh grant and toni collette are gold! the kid is now in tv show 'Skins' 4 stars
3/03/08 ladavies Hugh Grant can do no wrong. 4 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P i love this movie, it was so sweet, and Hugh Grant is as charming as usual! 4 stars
5/26/07 T. Monaco Great Film 5 stars
11/01/06 Pinkline Jones Fine film. Grant excellent 1 stars
10/04/06 Baldeadly Was just as good as the book. Brill! Really funny and different. Hugh Grant is Really class 5 stars
5/06/06 Ashley Hinz I didn't like this film overly much, but I like the actors. 4 stars
4/10/06 Thomas Semesky A charming movie that doesn't go over the edge. 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk A cute and funny little film 4 stars
2/20/06 Tanya very entertaining 4 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Strong comedy. Grant at his best. Love the story. 4 stars
11/09/05 Ole Man Bourbon Some sappiness, but some hilarious scenes. Hugh Grant makes a great asshole. 4 stars
9/25/05 D Buckley Better than the book 5 stars
3/21/05 Richard Pryor the best since 4 weddings and a funerla 5 stars
2/18/05 noob boob not crap, not great, just average 3 stars
1/17/05 DM Very, very funny 5 stars
1/04/05 HL Very Enjoyable Movie - Hugh Grant is Perfect... 4 stars
7/08/04 wattsski Absolutely brillaint and hillarious writing. I've seen it 28 times, it never gets old. 5 stars
5/03/04 Jan In my opinion the book is more interesting than the film. 3 stars
2/18/04 Pinkline Jones Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant 5 stars
2/12/04 mongo this is real shit! 1 stars
12/02/03 smarlie lose depth 2 stars
11/09/03 I Would Perfectly casted, excellent script and overall easy to identify with. I loved it. 4 stars
9/12/03 Goofy Maxwell If nothing else you learn that single parent dinner dates are BYOB (bring your own boy). 4 stars
4/16/03 JL Quite good, and funny. 5 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon The soup kitchen scene was a pants-pisser. 4 stars
3/31/03 Vitality1 this movie was MUCH better than American Pie & Down to Earth! they don't compare!!! 5 stars
3/02/03 karen surprisingly good! is hugh going to start making decent movies now? 4 stars
2/24/03 Mitsaso Funny and emotional 5 stars
2/12/03 brentley Probably the only Hugh Grant movie I actually enjoyed.... 4 stars
2/05/03 123 fresh and unique 5 stars
2/04/03 Monday Morning Oh please...this was right out of the sugar-sucking '60s. 2 stars
2/03/03 seldom scene excellent humor, easiest british film to comprehend 5 stars
1/28/03 Pinkline Jones No substance and no good looking CHICKS! 1 stars
1/24/03 Dom Great Film 5 stars
1/06/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng I love this movie! If you liked "American Pie" and "Down To Earth" you'll love it too! 5 stars
9/11/02 dora brilliant,beautiful,fantastic,cool,funny,the best film i`ve seen this year 5 stars
9/10/02 John McNew Good book, GREAT movie...mostly, that is 4 stars
9/05/02 Rob real human interest story it's all about men ladies learn something !!!! 4 stars
8/28/02 viking Hugh Grant's best performance in years 5 stars
8/26/02 hum entertaining 4 stars
8/02/02 Sylvie Alice Borden Enjoyable escapist comedy that critics want to fancy to be a morality play. 4 stars
8/01/02 Matthew Smith don't expect too many laughs, it's more dramatic and at times painful 4 stars
7/28/02 Adam Voorhees A real let down, not bad but not good enough by half 3 stars
7/26/02 Turtle Hilarious and charming. Truly a great movie. 5 stars
7/11/02 Kristen Great 5 stars
6/29/02 Christopher Loved it; a wonderful movie 5 stars
6/13/02 Heather Intelligent, well-crafted, insightful movie 5 stars
6/11/02 john excellent show ... tender, well acted and touching 4 stars
6/09/02 katsat Wonderful--touching, funny, believable, deep--the year's best mainstream movie so far 5 stars
6/05/02 natasha utterly charming; excellent performances and some really good laughs 5 stars
6/05/02 Mortis Intelligent Adult humor and emotion -obliviously not for everyone 4 stars
6/03/02 cleansparks hilarious, terrific performances 5 stars
6/01/02 Blubberbot Super boring 1 stars
5/31/02 Phil M. Aficionado Delightfully funny and yet thoughtful, with some excellent performances and characters 5 stars
5/31/02 Flick Chick they call this a chick flick? 1 stars
5/29/02 ajay what's up with that kid's eyebrows? I thought it was really funny 4 stars
5/28/02 Bunny 1 Kenobi Respectable acting, but I just hate movies about sick people 1 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Pretty predictable, but decent nonetheless. Good humor. 4 stars
5/25/02 bk grant is wonderful as the boy who finally grows up 4 stars
5/25/02 frank hilarious. touching without over-doing it 5 stars
5/24/02 Kristen Hugh Grant looked good! (sizzle sizzle) 5 stars
5/22/02 Gibbo Fantastic - loyal to the book. 5 stars
5/22/02 King Kong Insipid dialogue. Like diarrhea, I kept wondering when it would end. 1 stars
5/21/02 Greyjack I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Great acting all 'round, too. 5 stars
5/19/02 Jon Artus Hugh Grant...? Without Floppy Hair...? I like it! 4 stars
5/19/02 Oracle1 If you've seen Big, Big Daddy, The Kid, then you've seen most of this film. 1 stars
5/14/02 Doc Holiday great movie, good humour bit depressing though...see it anyway 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  17-May-2002 (PG-13)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast