***About a Boy*** (2002) ***Running Time***: 101 min. ***Stars***: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette ***Found at***: KohlerWill (Grant) is an attractive bachelor living in London who doesn’t work, thanks to the royalties he receives from a hit song his father wrote. Marcus (Hoult) is the biggest dweeb at his school, and has a hippie mom who attempts suicide early on in the film. Will and Marcus somehow come to be friends, offering each other advice on topics like fashion, relationships, and happiness.
***Comments***: While the basic premise, aided by Grant’s appearance, makes this movie a prime candidate for a nice, touching little comedy, at no point in time does this film elicit anything more than the slightest of emotional responses. The problem lies in the disorganized and thoroughly boring plot *******– it seems to have no destination whatsoever. The primary conflict of the film doesn’t even appear until about two-thirds in, leaving the rest of the movie without any source of motivation. Sure, we get lots of characterization and little anecdotal scenes, but there isn’t enough real conflict to create the sort of emotional attachment needed to carry off the last scene, a cheesy sing-along in front of Marcus’ classmates. The direction is atrocious, including a score of creative camera angles that serve only to distract the viewer from what little story there is. Unless you’re looking for an excuse to stare at Hugh Grant for the longest 100 minutes of your life, then keep your hands off this one. ***D***