Robert De Nero was one of the producers of About A Boy, a funny light comedy, which would have given me pause had I known that before hand. This is a more complicated movie that some reviewers might want to give it credit for. The simple premise is: A selfish person learns to care about others. Facile judgments don't give credit to the superb writing, direction and delicate comic touch that elevates About A Boy to a level of sophistication and humor that is not often seen on the big screen.
Hugh Grant is at his best in About A Boy as Will a self involved prat who is barely recognizable as a thinking human. Having had the good fortune of being the benefactor of an unusual inheritance Will occupies himself with doing nothing filling his days with meaningless but time occupying tasks as he seeks out his next carnal conquest. Will on the prowl devises a particularly scoundrelly plot to meet a whole new class of women - single mothers. The plot quite naturally seals his fate.
In the hands of a lesser writer or director this About A Boy could have fallen into a pedestrian pattern. Instead a unique relationship between Will and Marcus (played flawlessly by Nicholas Hoult) develops as Marcus struggles with high school, girls, bullies and adolescence and Will struggles with his own fear of commitment and seemingly never ending adolescence.
The story is well told, well directed and brilliantly acted. The supporting cast in this comedy is lead by a bravura performance by Toni Collette as Fiona (Marcus' mother) and the rather curiously cast but remarkable Rachel Weisz as Will's love interest.
This movie is a must see.