About a Boy 2002

Critics score:
94 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: Hoult is one of those amazing child actors whose faces serve as sheer membrane to their hearts. Read more

Renee Graham, Boston Globe: A timid, soggy near miss. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Some credit for that deservedly goes to Grant. To his credit, he doesn't stoop to his puppy-dog pander. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: The summer movie season has barely begun, and already we have its first big surprise. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: I loved the novel and I love what they did with it. Read more

Kenneth Turan, 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. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: 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. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Fans of the Hornby book should be pleased by the Weitzes' smart, faithful translation. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Miss this movie at your peril. Read more

Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine: 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. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Less inventive than the one Stephen Frears put forward in High Fidelity two years ago, but also more satisfying. Read more

Jonathan Foreman, 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. Read more

Andrew Sarris, 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. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: That rare gem that tugs at the heartstrings with no manipulative sentimentality. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: 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. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, 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. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: As Hugh Grant says repeatedly throughout the movie, 'Lovely! Brilliant!' Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: 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. Read more

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune: The movie occasionally strains for crowd-pleasing moments as it pumps up the drama toward the end, but it more than earns our indulgence. Read more

Steven Rosen, Denver Post: Although the plot devices that bring Will and Marcus together are complicated, they never seem strained or artificial. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: The movie sticks much closer to Hornby's drop-dead confessional tone than the film version of High Fidelity did. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: A flick about our infantilized culture that isn't entirely infantile. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: About a Boy pulls off the savvy trick of teaching life lessons without making you gag on them. Read more

Manohla Dargis, L.A. Weekly: There's not much more to this adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel than charm -- effortless, pleasurable, featherweight charm. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: The first big studio movie of 2002 I didn't want to end. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: 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. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: About a Boy is sophisticated and nuanced, and every character is bursting with emotional contradictions. Read more

Jami Bernard, 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. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Using a stock plot, About a Boy injects just enough freshness into the proceedings to provide an enjoyable 100 minutes in a movie theater. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Hugh Grant, who has a good line in charm, has never been more charming than in About a Boy. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The acid comedy of Grant's performance carries the film. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: Rascally Hugh Grant, a beyond-awkward little boy and the makers of American Pie team up for a near-perfect comic delight. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: An honest movie about childhood that avoids sappiness and sentiment and goes in unexpected directions. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: Mainstream comedies should all be this funny and tender and deftly performed. Read more

Colin Covert, 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. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: About A Boy measures out its redemption, but it's keenly felt all the same, and very much enjoyed. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Hornby's crises and characters can be so facile, schematic and smugly moralistic that emotional substance can get overshadowed by fluff. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: 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. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: Pleasant and engaging, rather than laugh-out-loud funny or emotionally involving. Read more

Jessica Winter, Village Voice: Since the central odd couple have no rapport, their bond never seems to progress past mutual usury. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: In this winning, tic-free performance, Grant lends the shoals layer upon layer of desire, terror, ambivalence and self-awareness. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: 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. Read more