"About a Boy", directed by Paul and Chris Witz, is a romantic comedy based on the bestselling novel written by Nick Hornby. The main character is 38-year-old bachelor Will Freeman, winningly portrayed by Hugh Grant, who does not work living off the royalties of a famous Christmas song written by his late father, and who after meeting a 12 year-old Marcus (excellently played by young Nicholas Hoult) discovers the need for companionship and love. Thanks to the excellently adapted script, we are shown a group of characters with real emotional depth, and the themes of love, loneliness, family and fear of commitment are all presented sensitively and hilariously.
The film centres on Will, who spends his days buying CDs and clothes, watching TV, having his hair styled and dating with women ("How do people manage to fit in a full-time job?", he wonders). He has no interest in long-term relationships with women.
He comes to realize that single mothers are perfect targets so he joins a local single-parent help group and poses as a single dad. His lie is a cause of many hilarious moments such as when he buys a baby car seat for his car and then makes it look 'reliable' by spraying it with mustard and crushed potato chips. He starts seeing an attractive blonde, who in turn introduces Will to 12 year-old Marcus, whose single mother Fiona (Toni Collette) is a depressed former hippie. Will befriends Marcus, who has his hands full of problems ranging from steady taunts by school bullies to his mother's attempted suicide. When Will finally meets Rachel (Rachel Weisz), a woman he truly likes, he turns to Marcus to help him develop a more meaningful relationship with her than his usual shallow, short-lived affairs.
About a Boy is...