About a Boy (2002) movie poster

(2002) dir. Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
viewed: 05/21/02 at Metreon, SF

Mediocrity.

This is the second of Nick Hornby’s books to make it to the big screen in recent years. It is also the second of which to make it to the big screen via some Hollywood interference.

The appeal of Hornby’s novels, of which I have read only this very one, seems steeped not merely in their depiction of the world of post-“generation x” thirty-somethings, but specifically, English post-“generation x” thirty-somethings. It’s certainly a significant part of their character and their charm.

In bringing High Fidelity (2000) to the big screen, the setting was converted to Chicago and the characters was all made into Americans. As directed by Stephen Frears, an English director, the film retained a good deal of the cynical humor that characterizes Hornby’s writing. So it seemed that having About a Boy set and shot in London, with an English cast, that the chances were good for a good adaptation.

But this film was directed by Chris & Paul Weitz, the brother team that brought the world American Pie (1999). Not necessarily hacks behind the camera, but not entirely polished, either.

Hugh Grant seems a weird choice for the lead, a little too posh for the character, though his charm carries the film for a lot of its worth.

Can’t help but thinking that this film would have been better with an English director.