Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
Some credit for that deservedly goes to Grant. To his credit, he doesn't stoop to his puppy-dog pander.
The summer movie season has barely begun, and already we have its first big surprise.
Los Angeles Times:
It's no use pretending About a Boy doesn't have warmth and charm, because it does. But... there's a potential for something better still that never manages to get realized.
A lot of the credit for the film's winning tone must go to Grant, who hasn't lost a bit of the dry humor that first made audiences on both sides of the Atlantic love him.
Hugh Grant hilariously redefines the word "playboy" in the first half of this film, then gets human, without losing his comic edge, under the influence of the title waif.
New York Times:
Less inventive than the one Stephen Frears put forward in High Fidelity two years ago, but also more satisfying.
New York Post:
Given the trajectory of the plot of About a Boy, it's almost a miracle that this smart, painfully funny adaptation of the best-selling Nick Hornby novel never gives way to sentimentality.
New York Observer:
In the end, the film comes over as a messy delight, thanks to the skill, generosity and good-sport, punching-bag panache of Mr. Grant's performance.
J. R. Jones,
Few movies have made better use of Hugh Grant's shallow charm and amused befuddlement than this funny and well-paced adaptation of Nick Hornby's best-selling second novel.
Wall Street Journal:
About a Boy is better than a feelgood movie, it's a feelgreat movie -- genuinely clever, affecting when you least expect it to be and funny from start to finish.
Compared to High Fidelity, the book and the movie, About A Boy seems resolutely uncool.... But part of growing up may be admitting that such familiar comforts can also be immensely satisfying.
The movie occasionally strains for crowd-pleasing moments as it pumps up the drama toward the end, but it more than earns our indulgence.
Although the plot devices that bring Will and Marcus together are complicated, they never seem strained or artificial.
The movie sticks much closer to Hornby's drop-dead confessional tone than the film version of High Fidelity did.
There's not much more to this adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel than charm -- effortless, pleasurable, featherweight charm.
The first big studio movie of 2002 I didn't want to end.
The directors Paul and Chris Weitz -- the American Pie brothers -- have tried hard not to make a tearjerker, and at its best the movie is knowing and tart.
New York Daily News:
Even people who don't usually like Hugh Grant will be charmed by him in the scrappy, slightly scandalous comedy About a Boy.
Using a stock plot, About a Boy injects just enough freshness into the proceedings to provide an enjoyable 100 minutes in a movie theater.
Hugh Grant, who has a good line in charm, has never been more charming than in About a Boy.
Rascally Hugh Grant, a beyond-awkward little boy and the makers of American Pie team up for a near-perfect comic delight.
Mainstream comedies should all be this funny and tender and deftly performed.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Will is a flintier, more sarcastic and impatient character than we've seen Grant play, yet there's a core of decency about him.
About A Boy measures out its redemption, but it's keenly felt all the same, and very much enjoyed.
Hornby's crises and characters can be so facile, schematic and smugly moralistic that emotional substance can get overshadowed by fluff.
Most of us have uttered this familiar refrain: The movie is never as good as the book. About a Boy flies in the face of that maxim.
Pleasant and engaging, rather than laugh-out-loud funny or emotionally involving.
Since the central odd couple have no rapport, their bond never seems to progress past mutual usury.
In this winning, tic-free performance, Grant lends the shoals layer upon layer of desire, terror, ambivalence and self-awareness.
About a Boy is not only hilarious, touching and wonderfully dyspeptic, it's grounds for Hugh Grant's canonization as the patron saint of all cads.