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Movie Review: About A Boy

Story: Need a break from special effects, explosions and digitized summer movie action? Then treat yourself to this surprisingly charming, entertaining film. It is based on the novel by High Fidelity's Nick Hornby (if you don't count the ending) and directed by the brothers Chris and Paul Weitz of American Pie...wait - keep reading, really!

The story is simple. The title could refer to either the 38 year old man (who suffers from an advanced case of arrested development) or the 12 year old boy who become friends, experience life lessons and grow up together. Our handsome, smug, charming 38 year old bachelor has managed to remain unattached, unencumbered and unemployed (he does not have to work -- he earns money from his father's one-hit Christmas song royalties). He gets involved with a needy 12 year old and the laughter, love and story ensue. The camera work is interesting, I cared about the characters and did not mind being manipulated a bit by the directors.

Most of you know how I feel about narrators and this film has two (yikes)! However, the film simply could not work without the use of this technique so I did not mind at all and many of the laughs I had were generated by the internal dialogue used in the narration. So, I will let my bias go for this one -- this time.

Acting: Will the real Hugh Grant stand up? The guy in this film should stay in front of the camera. He did not stammer or stutter one time. They even gave him a new hairdo. He is improved and was very appealing. Young Nicholas Hoult was cute and effective. Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) once again plays the bawling single Mom. Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Sunshine) was good but I have a feeling a lot of her part ended up on the cutting room floor.

Critters: A hamster and some ducks.

Food: Junk food, a loaf of bread (with a big part) and lots of vegan meals. Now that I think of it...considering that the film takes place in England, there was lots of food.

Visual Art: Excellent details used in the various flats. Class distinction was everywhere (again...it is an English film -- and class is always an underlying issue).

Blatant Product Placement: Esquire magazine and Sketchers shoes.

Soundtrack: Intriguing.

Opening Titles: Simple and appropriate.

Theater Audience: We were at a very early show and there were only two other people in the entire theater. We laughed the loudest.

Sappy Factor: 5

Predictability Level: High (but I didn't care).

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: No nits to pick today.

Big Screen or Rental: You choose. However, if you want to rent some Hugh Grant films how about Small Time Crooks, Mickey Blue Eyes, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain, An Awfully Big Adventure, 'Restoration, Sense And Sensibility, Four Weddings And a Funeral, Remains of the Day, or Maurice.

Length: 110 minutes.