Saturday, October 24, 2009
My Top Ten Films Adapted From Novels # 10: About A Boy, Nick Hornby
In adapting Nick Hornby's About A Boy, Peter and Chris Weitz, of American Pie fame, stay true to Hornby's hilarious creation of an imperfect man in his mid 30's who is having a hard time letting go of his Peter Pan Syndrome. Hugh Grant, who plays the lead Will, fits into the role like a glove. Stepping away from the frumpish, awkward characters made famous in films like Four Weddings And A Funeral and Notting Hill, Grant showcases the charm and comedic talent that is reminiscent of Cary Grant. For example, in one of my favorites scenes in the movie, only second to the SPAT group meeting, Will visits a couple friends and marvels at the responsibility and chaos that goes along with having children. After he clumsily holds their new born baby girl in his hands, the request is made for him to be the godfather. Will declares I can't think of a worse thing for the child than me being the godfather. I'd take her out on her 18th birthday, get her drunk and lets face it, try to shag her. After an exchange like that, you'd expect to hate that character. But I give credit to Grant the actor. The ying to Will's yang in this film so to speak is Marcus. A 12-year-old misfit who isn't that popular at school and must also contend with a suicidal mother. At the beginning of their friendship, Will isn't really receptive. After all, he is a child. But as the relationship grows so does Will's fondness for Marcus. He even goes as far as to ask Marcus for advice about a woman he wants to date. Even though the producers and directors are American, the film never loses its English sensibility. What could have been incredibly mishandled, turned into real gem of a movie. That is the credit that goes to the Weitz Brothers and Nick Hornby.