About a Boy is a rarity in many ways. It's a well-written, witty film whose memorable characters grapple with the nature of family, love, friendship and despair. Even its soundtrack, by Badly Drawn Boy, is perfectly pitched.
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It's irresistible, damn it. Mainstream comedies should all be this funny and tender and deftly performed.
Pleasant and engaging, rather than laugh-out-loud funny or emotionally involving.
Hilarious, touching and wonderfully dyspeptic.
Illuminating with their energy and wit.
A comedy hit, but its secret is that it delves deeper than the usual summer fare.
About a Boy knows exactly what it wants to do: It wants to make you smile, and grin, and then laugh with recognition, and it manages all three, again and again.
Hugh Grant has grown up, holding on to his lightness and witty cynicism but losing the stuttering sherry-club mannerisms that were once his signature. In doing so, he has blossomed into the rare actor who can play a silver-tongued sleaze with a hidden inner decency.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of About a Boy is how substantial it plays -- as a feel-good film with weight, a knowing comedy with dramatic depth.
We have all the action heroes and Method script-chewers we need right now, but the Cary Grant department is understaffed, and Hugh Grant shows here that he is more than a star, he is a resource.