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About A Boy

The main problem with About A Boy is that it isn't called "About A Girl," which would have been much more appealing to me, personally.

Still, when Hugh Grant does one of those damned Brit Romantic Comedy/Life Learning Stories (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary) I have to go see it. It's like a law or something.

About A Boy tells the story of Will Freeman, a rich, do-nothing bachelor for whom life is a bowl of cherries. He dates a ton of beautiful women, commits to nothing and no one, lives in a spacious British flat with tons of cool gadgets and lives what for all intents and purposes is the perfect life.

Then tragedy strikes. He begins to care.

A wonderful lie leads to a sexy woman which leads to a disturbed woman which leads to a boy. And since the title isn't "About A Sexy Woman" you can guess where the story goes from there.

Said boy begins to become a part of Hugh's life, and suddenly everything that once held meaning--such as the perfect car, the extravagant hair appointment or the meaningless, mindless sex--seems empty.

About A Boy teaches us all a valuable lesson. Life is better when shared with others. And for God's sake, grow up.

If you buy into that, then this will leave you smiling, crying with joy and otherwise making a complete fool of yourself.

If, like me, you think life is best shared with Captain Morgan and a subscription to Skinemax, the movie will still evoke a hearty giggle from you, but the lesson may go over your head.

There is a lot about About A Boy that is very funny. There is a lot about About A Boy that is poignant and sweet. There is a lot about About A Boy that is touching and moving. Watching the film, you'd have no idea that it's directed by the same two guys who directed American Pie.

Yes, American Pie. No, there's not a sexually-mauled pastry in sight.

I was especially impressed with the end. When the space aliens come down.. oh there I go giving away the space alien twist again. Sorry, but for some reason, I can never hold back when it comes to the space alien twists. I don't mean to ruin the movie for any of you, it's just an unnatural urge I have.

Anyway, the ending climax, aside from the space aliens, is a testament to the diversity of the directors. While in American Pie, for example, they would take this same movie and end it by taking the easy way out (probably involving a staple gun and someone's nether regions), in this movie they come up with a way to give you comedy that doesn't come at the expense of the characters, which is a very nice, mature and fulfilling way to end a film.

Not that I don't think a staple gun and someone's nether regions wouldn't make a great ending. Maybe "American Pie 3."

Meanwhile, in what is a total stretch for Hugh Grant, he falls in love not with an American actress (Andie MacDowell, Julia Roberts or Renee Zellweger) but a British one. Finally, he's eating at his own table!

Lots of other people deserve to be singled out for praise, such as Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, and many others, including the Boy, played by Nicholas Hoult, even if he looks a little weird at times.

Basically, think about Notting Hill without Julia Roberts. Think about Four Weddings and a Funeral without Andie MacDowell. Think about Bridget Jones' Diary you get the point.

You are left with a funny movie that would be a great movie to bring a date, or a single parent in need of a smile, or anyone who thinks Hugh Grant is a hunky dream. But don't bring a boy. Boys probably won't much care for it. Which is why they need to rename it "About A Girl."

What boy wouldn't go see that?

I'm giving About A Boy 4 Babylons. A non-stop thrill ride that will leave you begging for more. Or something like that.

Editor's Note:

The Critic won't be happy until they release "About A Hot, Sweaty, Naked, Cheerleader." Honestly, some times I wonder why I even bother.

About A Boy
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
Starring: Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Isabel Brook, Sharon Small, Victoria Smurfit. I'm serious, Victoria Smurfit. Smurfit. Sounds like the punch line to a bad sexual joke involving Smurfette and the Beastie Boys.

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