Movie Review: About a Boy (2002)

Having kids. Not everyone’s cup of tea. There, I said it. So many think everyone should have kids and that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. But that’s such a narrow view of stuff. Be open to other people’s life choices. And those who don’t wanna have kids, don’t look down at those who have kids. Let’s all be friends.

Ladies and gentlemen… “About a Boy”.

Will (Hugh Grant) is an immature, cynical bachelor that has chosen single mothers as his new dating targets, and he’s willing to put up any lie to get inside their pants. This however backfires when a 12-year old boy (Nicholas Hoult) starts seeing through his lie, and becomes a central part of Will’s life. And maybe these two will learn some stuff from each other. So now we have our rom-rom/coming-of-age story. And it honestly subverted a lot of expectations I had. With these two genres, one expects a lot of tropes, and we do get a few of them here, which end up being some of the weaker elements of the story. But with that said, there’s still enough nuance and subversion here to make it an intriguing and surprisingly engaging take on these two familiar genres, while still giving you some of the heartwarming bits you’d expect.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Hugh Grant plays Will, the cynical man-child at the center of this story. Never one to commit himself to a single person for long, he drifts around various women like a lying asshole. He isn’t the typical charming, Hugh Grant rom-com character, and it makes him quite an intriguing and refreshing character to watch as he evolves. And Grant is great in the role. Next we have a young Nicholas Hoult as Marcus, the little kid that Will begrudgingly “befriends”. He’s a bit weird, but he’s also clever, charming, and quite an endearing kid. And Hoult is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz, Victoria Smurfit, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by the musician known as Badly Drawn Boy, and it was good. They’re basically indie pop songs, which I’d assume is the genre that Badly Drawn Boy might be associated with usually. There are even a few instrumentals that could fit that description used throughout. And this music works alright within the story. The tunes themselves are pretty good, it’s just that when used within a movie context, it creates a bit of a bland vibe. So overall… pretty good.

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this movie was directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, and I think they did a good job with it. There’s certainly a warmth their direction brings that makes it feel nice to watch (if that makes any sense). What really surprised me though was the shot composition. So many romantic comedies out there have what I like to call a “start the camera” look, in which it just looks like they started the camera, with no real thought of giving the movie an interesting style or any fun camerawork. But here, there’s plenty of both, this is a really well shot movie. And since it’s a comedy, we should talk about the humor… it’s funny. Some light slapstick, some surprisingly dark jokes, some clever digs at things. I laughed throughout.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay.

While it still dips into cliches at times, “About a Boy” still subverts enough to impress. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “About a Boy” is an 8,97/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “About a Boy” is now completed.

Hughbert Grantchester is a lot better when he gets to do these slightly more offbeat characters.

Movie Review: High Fidelity (2000)

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I like to think that I have a pretty varied catalogue of reviews on my blog. From westerns to dramas to sci-fi and so on. However I find it not having a lot of romantic comedies/romance movies in general. So let us have a look at one right now.

Ladies and gentlemen… “High Fidelity”.

Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is a compulsive list maker who also happens to own a record store (Sidenote: A dream job of mine). At the moment of the movie he is working on his list titled “Top Five Most Memorable Breakups”, with the fifth one currently in progress. So we get to follow him as he tries to cope with it and how he tries to find the love. Not gonna lie, this could turn out really awful and cheesy. But luckily, the plot was presented surprisingly well. They don’t present it in the regular romantic comedy way, oh no. They do it in a casual and actually kind of realistic way and not in a forced and terrible way. The story is in general very relaxed and laid back which really makes it that much better. And yes, it is also done in a very funny way that I laughed at when it was supposed to be funny.

The characters are quirky, colorful and surprisingly real. These are people that I have seen in real life, they are not just a bunch of funny characters who someone made up. None of them are your typical, cliché rom-com characters. John Cusack is great in the lead role as Rob, playing a bit of a damaged guy. Despite being the main character of the movie and ultimately a good guy, he is at the same time not your perfect good guy, which makes him all the better for it. Iben Hjejle plays his ex-girlfriend in this movie and she is really good too. Jack Black is great as Rob’s friend/co-worker. Todd Louiso who I’ve never heard of before was also really good as Rob’s more quiet friend. Everybody was great, even Tim Robbins who only had a tiny part in the movie.

Story: Really good. Acting/Characters: Really good. Soundtrack: FUCKING AMAZING! Not kidding, it is that great. The original score which is used sparingly was done by Howard Shore and that is really good. But what really stands out about the soundtrack is everything else. It is made up for the most part of pop and rock from the 70’s and 80’s and as some of you may know, that type of music is my jam. It also really fits the movie perfectly. IT is really a perfect soundtrack.

Stephen Frears did a great job directing this movie. It looks great and everything is fine. I really don’t have much to say here. I guess the only thing I can add is that this movie is based on a book by British author Nick Hornby, but that’s really all I can say.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“High Fidelity” is a romantic comedy that actually really works. It has an entertaining plot, entertaining characters & great acting, a fantastic soundtrack, really good directing and it is really funny. Time for my final score. WHAT FUCKING IAN!? My final score for “High Fidelity” is a 9,84/10. It does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“High Fidelity” is now reviewed.

Not gonna lie, I’m surprised I enjoyed a rom-com this much.