I saw About A Boy at the Meridian 16 on Friday night.
I expected the movie to be a "chick flick," but it turned out not to be done in a maudlin way. Hugh Grants plays Will, a shallow, rich, single guy who will pretty much do just about anything to get laid. The story centers around his story of being a single dad to pick up single mothers. His method doesn't work out so well, but one of the children of the single mothers, Marcus, takes a liking to him. Marcus has his own issues, as his mother is suicidal and Marcus feels that Will will make the perfect father in his life and will help prevent his suicidal mother from offing herself.
One of my pet peeves in movies and television shows is when a character tells a lie and the rest of the story revolves around the absurd things the character does to maintain the lie. I hate these because in real life, maintaining a lie like that just doesn't work. People figure it out. The absurd actions don't make sense to real people. Also, people are rarely as unforgiving of the lie as you would think. In real life, fessing up usually doesn't bring down the wrath of the populace. I get uncomfortable watching a character go through these kinds of gyrations.
"About A Boy" takes the lie and makes an art of having Will get himself into situations, but rarely does he try to keep his lies going indefinitely through ever wilder and wilder shenanigans. In a testament to his acting skill, Hugh Grant pulls off being unable to tell a lie well. It's like he takes the right delivery to get away with it, then takes just a hair off the comfortability. So we in the audience seem to be in on it a little, and we wonder why the women in the film buy into it. As does Will's character. In one aside, he exclaims "I can't believe they are buying this." But even in Will's case, he can't maintain these for long. In one pretty memorable scene, he bursts into a SPAT ("Single Parents Alone Together") meeting at which he had previously attended. Everyone asks where's he been and how's Ned, his nonexistent son. Will seems flustered (he's there for another purpose and everyone else already figured out that lie) and almost yells, "I made him all up. Yeah, to meet single mothers."
It wouldn't be a good chick flick, if Will didn't learn anything. Since I don't want to reveal the ending, I'll leave with the fact that Will and Marcus become friends and the rest of the movie follows their relationship and it's effect on Will.
Thanks to ShivaCat for inviting me. I believe she has a LiveJournal, but I can't find it in a cursory search, so no link to it.