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  Film Reviews: Hollywood Didn’t Run It!: About A Boy  

Wednesday, February 26
Hollywood Didn’t Run It!: About A Boy
I resisted seeing “About A Boy” simply because I’d loved the book. Actually, I really love anything that Nick Hornby has written, having torn through a few of the books last summer at the beach. But it was nominated for “Best Adapted Screenplay,” so I had to face the demons sometime.

First I must explain that I saw “Hi Fidelity” before having read the Nick Hornby book. After reading the book, I saw what Hollywood had done to the book – and I’m not just talking the glaring movement of the setting from London to Chicago. Let’s just say if, while watching the film, you ever had a difficult time understanding why she came back so quickly in the end – the book has a much better (albeit complicated) ending.

So I read the book just before “About A Boy” is to be released in theaters. The book was a wonderful portrayal of the way that lives intertwine – whether you like it or not. I read this and in my “Evil Producer Mind,” I immediately saw script drafts that did away with the complex evolution of these relationships and tied it up with something more simple and straightforward. You know, swooning women with neatly tied up reasons and plenty of room for a precocious child to say terribly cute things throughout the movie.

There are two people at the center of this novel – Will, the self-absorbed bachelor whose sole purpose in life is to be cool; Marcus, the awkward twelve-year old boy who is the quintessential opposite of cool. The natural assumption is that there is no way in the known universe that these two would meet, much less become friends.

Will’s self-absorbed nature leads to an accidental, but amazing, discovery. He finds that single mothers have all of the benefits of dating and eventually cut the relationship short as they put their child’s emotional well being first. Will realizes that these breakups are clean, neat and leave him without the fuss of a crying woman who has realized that she’s wasted too much time on a man who is really nothing more than a child.

This epiphany leads Will to SPAT – Single Parents Alone Together – a support group for single parents. It is with an invented son that Will enters SPAT for the sole purpose of picking up attractive single women. As with any perfect plan, there is bound to be a problem.

This problem presents itself simply in the form of Marcus, a twelve-year-old boy who inadvertently kills a duck with a loaf of bread at a SPAT picnic. Will believes he’s in the clear until he and his date take Marcus home. Marcus’ mother is on the sofa, passed out from a suicide attempt.

From that moment on, Will’s belief that every man is an island is challenged. Marcus, in a desire for a “back-up” that can help him in the event that his mother tries to kill herself again latches onto Will for dear life. Will eventually finds himself latching back.

While there are things missed from the book, the essence of the story remains the same. It is a story about believing you’re an island until you suddenly realize that your surrounded by exactly the right group of people that make up your chosen family.

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: It’s in stores for rental now – go out and rent it before someone else steals it from you.

Annoying Theater Goer: As this was watched at home, I must once again blame dog for any annoyances.

Main Reason To See This Film: If you’ve ever found yourself surrounded by a second chosen family that became as important as your first family, this is a film that’s about you.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: You can’t stand Roberta Flack.

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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