Monday, 10 June 2013

About a Boy Review

The late 90s and early 00s are proving to be the golden age of British romantic comedy.  From the original Fever Pitch through Love Actually and more, these movies have been able to create a fantastic mix of melancholy and comedy that entertains the viewer on many different levels.  It's a formula that only the British seem to be able to do and one of the best is About a Boy.

Part of what makes this film successful is the source material.  Nick Hornby is an absolute master of combining serous topics with comedy that make you reflect on an issue while not taking it too seriously.  About a Boy takes depression and loneliness and makes you laugh at it without ever thinking you are making light of a serious situation.  This is not an easy thing to do.  I would think taking it from a novel to the screen is even more difficult.  Rather than dealing with it in a traditional good guy, douchebag, girl love triangle, the story has no bad guy.  The villain is really relationships themselves.  The characters need to conquer whatever is holding them back to win what they want.

The light-hearted theme throughout is achieved through some very strong performances by Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult.  It helps that they are cast perfectly.  Grant is always able to play aloof yet relatable.  Hoult just had the look of the awkward kid who just doesn't fit in.  It is likely a stroke of luck that they were able to get two actors that fit their parts so well and get a terrific on-screen chemistry from them.  Luck or not, it worked and that's all that matters.  From their first interaction right to the end, there is an authenticity in the development of their relationship that grips you.

In its writing, acting, music, pace, etc.  This movie excels in everything that a romantic comedy should be.  And it achieves the end result that all romantic comedies should: a happy and satisfied feeling in the viewer.  See it.

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