Making the Grades
SHALLOW WILL WOULD HAVE BEEN a good working title for this movie although Hal already used it. Will Freeman's (Hugh Grant) flagrant consumerism seems to be the noblest quality he can muster up to describe his contribution to society. Oh, he's made a few feeble attempts at serving in a soup kitchen or soliciting funds for foreign aid, but in the end it 's all about him.
His life goal is to remain blissfully bachelored. Using the royalties from Daddy's one hit wonder, he keeps himself gainfully unemployed and able to pursue droves of women for sexual favors without making any commitments.
After breaking up with yet another woman, Will stumbles upon the idea of dating single moms. To work this new racket, he invents a fictional toddler named Ned and plays the part of an abandoned father in a support group for single parents. But his plans to love 'em and leave 'em gets a little skewed when he meets 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) and his mom (Toni Collette). Marcus has a problem and he figures Will is the guy to solve it.
But the idea of getting involved with someone else's life is more than this self-serving, egocentric London playboy can fathom. Poor Will is too clueless to realize that piles of purchases (including the latest kitchen gadgets) and endless television viewing will never add up to the real stuff of meaningful human relationships. It takes the much younger but wiser Marcus to clear away the clutter and open up his eyes.
Unfortunately, script clutter, in the form of frequent (and occasionally strong) profanities and a heavy sexual theme, is also what will hamper viewers from getting this movie's message. In addition, the movie offers simplistic solutions to some of life's complex challenges like attempted suicide, severe depression, and bullies on the school ground. As well, it trivializes the effort required to make significant lifestyle changes.
Despite some funny moments and well-timed jokes, About A Boy will likely cause parents to do an abrupt about-face in the movie ticket line.
Follow the link to Making The Grades for additional information on this film's content.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about About A Boy (2002).
Will figures he has his own little island paradise complete with every imaginable gadget and high-tech toy. How does meeting Rachel affect the way he feels about his secluded lifestyle? Does the work, hobbies or passions we pursue give depth to our lives and make us more interesting individuals?
Honesty is a difficult trait for Will to practice in his relationships. How does one small white lie lead to another? What happens to his credibility when his misrepresentations are discovered?
One female character in the movie suffers from severe depression that can be caused by a number of variables. Being aware of the signs of depression can allow parents, caregivers and others to help a person deal with this debilitating challenge. For a list of depression’s symptoms see