About a Boy
Length: 101 minutes / 1.68 hours
It’s challenging to define the aesthetic of the early 2000s, but I think About a Boy (2002) is about as close as it comes. From the music and style to themes and plot, About a Boy is a solid little romantic comedy that probably hasn’t aged as well in the time since its creation. Although it is a rare sight to see Nicholas Hoult in one of his earlier film roles, knowing the kind of actor he has become (for such movies like X-Men: First Class (2011), Warm Bodies (2013), and The Favourite (2018)).
I’ll admit that Will (Hugh Grant) is a bit of a creeper for going after single mothers as a way to hook up and get dumped without the guilt being on his side of the equation. However, the independently-wealthy status he has based on royalties from a single one-hit-wonder seems a little implausible. Still, maybe it was possible back at the start of the millennium. The real core of this film is how Will is able to grow up a bit and show some significant character development brought about by Marcus (Nicholas Hoult).
In the end, there’s a bit of fun here and there, and the story is certainly unique enough not to be comparable to anything else out there in the genre. It’s not necessarily great cinema, but it’s not entirely bad either. It’s entertaining, and that’s definitely something if you want to pass the time. Despite some of the predatory ways Will pursues women, the film still holds up reasonably well almost two decades later. The music is catchy, and the writing is superb (helped out by the talent of Peter Hedges). For some reason, I’ve had this movie on my watch list for a long time, and I’m glad I finally got around to seeing it.
A fairly unique romantic comedy that screams early-2000s, I give About a Boy 3.5 stars out of 5.