HTF REVIEW: "About A Boy" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 28, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    About A Boy

    Studio: Universal
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 102 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish

    Growing up has nothing to do with age.
    I have never been a Hugh Grant fan. I have always
    felt the actor to be somewhat annoying, and I suppose
    I feel threatened by the fact that women fall head
    over heals for his boyish charm. For the most part,
    I had made it my mission to do whatever it took to
    avoid any movie that featured the actor, that is,
    until I saw About A Boy
    Hugh Grant seems to have a new image. The annoying,
    bumbling mop-topped Englishman has been made-over
    to look more stylish and clean-cut. Though he still
    has that boyish charm, his slightly wrinkled face
    makes him look perfect for this role.
    Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) is a shallow, aging
    slacker whose only responsibilities in life are
    to live as fully as he can off the royalties of
    his father's one hit Christmas tune. He lives the
    the life of a playboy, enjoying as many short-term
    relationships as he can. One day, Will realizes
    that the best type of women to score with are single
    mothers, and soon he begins attending single-parent
    support groups to scope out the selection.
    It is there, that Will meets Marcus (Nicholas Hoult),
    very strange 12 year-old boy living with his depressed
    suicidal mother (Toni Collette). Marcus is all alone
    in the world. He can't find the love he needs at home,
    and he just doesn't fit in school. Will and Marcus
    begin to strike up a rather awkward friendship that
    leads them to bond over their equally empty lives.
    When a beautiful single Mother (Rachel Weisz) enters
    Will's life, he begins to realize that his relationship
    with Marcus holds a very unselfish meaning for him.
    It's hard to believe that this movie could come out
    of the same writing and directing team that brought
    us American Pie, but Paul and Chris Weitz have
    managed to put together a film filled with so much
    wit and charm that it becomes pleasantly entertaining.
    How is the transfer?
    With a beautifully clear and noise-free picture, the
    transfer is as warm as the film itself. Images are
    just short of being razor sharp, falling back a little
    on the soft side. Colors are extremely well balanced,
    never really drawing attention to themselves causing
    the picture to have a very natural look and feel to
    it. Facial tones are dead-on accurate. This is about
    as good as a transfer gets!
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is quite good for this type
    of film. There's no real emphasis put on any aspect
    of this mix. Sound is about as clear as one would
    expect, not very bass-heavy, but perfect enough. The
    rears do an admirable job with the film's effects,
    particularly the sounds of kids in a school yard or
    nature inside a city park. There's no real gimmicky
    sound mixing here, nor should there be. I was just
    happy that Damon Gough's score crept into the rear
    channels for a nice wraparound feel.
    Special Features
    A full-length Feature Commentary by writer/
    directors Paul and Chris Weitz has the boys promising
    that they will remain intellectual within this
    commentary, and for the most part, they both remain
    low-key throughout. This does sort of play as a
    very interesting "Film Study 101" course as the
    boys take us by the hand through scene after scene
    and describe how shots and lighting were set up
    (and nearly copied from other famous directors), and
    how important plot decisions were mapped out. The
    guys actually had a lot of problems trying not to
    cross the line in what would be unacceptable material,
    and throughout this commentary you'll hear several
    examples of what nearly was. In the film's final
    Kidz Rock showcase, the boys talk about why a New
    Yorker magazine critic blasted the filmmakers for
    deviating from the original book.
    The making of About A Boy is an original cable
    TV "On Location." Meet writers and directors Paul
    and Chris Weitz who begin by giving us a bit of
    background on their film which is based on a popular
    book by Nick Hornby. An interview with Hugh Grant
    reveals that the actor fell in love with the script
    for the fact that it was a "moving" sort of picture --
    something he hadn't done before. Author Nick Hornby
    talks about writing a comedy that basically involves
    people having a hard time. Young actor Nicholas Hoult
    explains the benefit of working with two directors who
    bounce their ideas off of one another. And though
    these American directors are often found working
    with material that is quite immature, you would be
    surprised as how intelligent and sophisticated they
    can be in real life. Hugh Grant is not one who
    readily warms up to kids, but the Weitz brothers
    found a remarkable talent in an 11-year old kid who
    had no prior film experience. This is a very
    down-to-earth featurette that really examines
    its material rather than trying to be overly
    promotional -- and gosh darnit, we could use a lot
    more featurettes like this.
    (length: approx. 11 minutes)
    There are approximately 14 minutes of deleted
    scenes that are all combined in one full-length
    presentation (rather than being broken down in
    individual segments). Most of these scenes are
    quite fun to watch as they expand upon some of
    character interactions. Some of the highlights
    * Walking the city streets, a conversation between
    Marcus and Fiona shows how depressed his Mother is.
    * Will participates in a motivational exercise
    with the mothers of the single-parent support group
    * A fun sequence where Will goes shopping for baby
    items in order to fool his date. Just wait till you
    see what he does with a breast pump.
    * A scene where Will, Fiona and Marcus stand in
    line outside of Planet Hollywood segues into
    an extended version of the restaurant scene.
    * Some extended couch conversation with Marcus turns
    into a short tour of Will's apartment.
    * Rachel visits Will's apartment and makes him an
    offer he can't refuse.
    Two Music Videos by Badly Drawn Boy
    are available for your viewing/listening pleasure:
    Silent Sigh and Something to talk about.
    I absolutely loved this! Anyone that had problems
    with some of the British English words in this movie
    will want to watch English To English Dictionary.
    This bloody off his head bloke just loved messing about
    this feature....and anyone who doesn't appreciate
    the hard work I put into these reviews can just
    Bugger Off!
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    The film's original theatrical trailer can
    be found here, in addition to an extensive cast
    and filmmakers filmography and production
    notes that takes us through the success of Nick
    Hornby's novel to the purchase of the rights by
    Robert DeNiro's film company.
    There are also trailers here for Possession, A
    Beautiful Mind, Meet The Parents, Notting Hill,
    Erin Brokovich, Family Man
    and upcoming theatrical
    release Johnny English.
    Final Thoughts
    It's not often that guys and gals can agree on
    the same film -- especially when it stars none
    other than Hugh Grant. About A Boy is the
    exception to the rule, and I wholeheartedly
    recommend this film as the perfect date flick,
    or, something likable and heartwarming to watch on
    any given evening.
    Worth a rental!
    Release Date: January 14, 2003
    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

    Dec 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I LOVE this movie! Cant wait to pick up the disc. Great review and maybe your opinion of Hugh has changed. [​IMG]
  3. kevin_asai

    kevin_asai Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 12, 2001
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    Watched it a few months ago and I loved it. I will pick this up when it comes out. [​IMG] The English To English Dictionary featurette sounds interesting.
  4. Julia*D

    Julia*D Agent

    Nov 23, 2002
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    Great review! I really loved this movie and will definitely get this disc when it comes out.
  5. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

    Jun 18, 2001
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    Pool me in the same group that originally found Grant cloying and one-dimensional, despite the anglophile in me. After Bridget Jones's Diary, my disdain dissolved, and now I'm anxiously awaiting the release of About a Boy.

    If for nothing else, I'll buy the dvd for the English to English dictionary.

    This whole package looks very fun.
  6. JohnDMoore

    JohnDMoore Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 16, 2002
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    One of my favorite films of 2002. I'll be picking this up as soon as I can get to a store.
  7. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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    Thanks so much for reviewing this one, Ron. I had my doubts about seeing a Hugh Grant film review (in this male-dominated society), so you've restored my faith.
    Skipped this one in the theater because I knew I'd buy the DVD (sight-unseen), so I've been anxiously awaiting the release date (despite the repeated delays). Sorry, but I can't wait to get another dose of that "boyish charm".
  8. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

    Jul 22, 2002
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    I review films as part of my job. That means I'm forced to see a lot of movies I don't want to. In the month of may there were things like Spider-Man and Star Wars, so I was dreaded seeing this film. I was greatly surprised by it. I was one of my favorite films of 2002. I just wish the DVD would have been out sooner.
  9. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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    Am I the only one upset that Universal removed the 21 minute featurette Born In The UK - Interview With Badly Drawn Boy for the R1 DVD release? It was on the R2 release and it was even mentioned on some websites when the disc was announced, but I'm guessing it did not make it to DVD, even when there was enough space. [​IMG] I would take this over the English to English Dictionary (which was not on the R2 release).
    Oh well, I'll still probably end up buying the DVD.
  10. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Jun 17, 1999
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    So whatever came of the trouble with "Killing Me Softly"?
  11. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

    Jan 18, 2001
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    I also can't wait to see this one. I missed it in theatres and am anxiously awaiting it's release tomorrow. I loved the book and the movie looks like it was pretty faithful...

  12. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Jul 11, 1998
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  13. Mike Nelms

    Mike Nelms Extra

    Jul 19, 2002
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    The wife picked this one up yesterday. We have yet to watch it. I was not very excitied for many of the reasons others stated (including Ron) above. Now after reading the review I will go into it with a much better attitude.

  14. Kevin Leonard

    Kevin Leonard Supporting Actor

    Mar 11, 2001
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  15. MattMB

    MattMB Agent

    Nov 21, 2002
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    I'm quite a fan of "British" humor and tend to pick up most of Hugh Grant's movies because I enjoy the dry humor and my wife enjoys the stories.

    We rented "About a Boy" last night, and I found myself laughing for a majority of the movie. (The "Godfather" scene is hilarious!) I like this movie better than a majority of the movies I've bought in the past few months. ie. Spiderman, AotC and others..

    "About a Boy" is a very good movie.
  16. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

    Jan 18, 2001
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  17. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 3, 2002
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    Random the character "Susie" Irish? I could not place the accent in the film.
  18. MattMB

    MattMB Agent

    Nov 21, 2002
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  19. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

    Oct 11, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Christian Preischl

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