Great Scenes… About A Boy
Hugh Grant is a good actor. Let me get that out of the way right at the start. The man can act. Unfortunately, he often chooses not to act, appearing in worse-than-derivative drivel like Music and Lyrics. Yet even when he’s slumming it, Grant can often elevate a lame movie out of the gutter. Thankfully, in the rather underrated About A Boy, he acts his socks off. But not in a showy way – Grant’s performance is admirably restrained as he brilliantly conveys what it’s like to be a directionless man-child.
Some of you may snidely say that portraying a rich Londoner with lots of time on his hands isn’t much of a stretch for Mr Grant, but I disagree. The role of Will in About A Boy is a tricky one – he is someone you should dislike yet warm to in equal measure. Grant is perfectly cast, making it hard to imagine anyone else carrying it off.
In this scene, Will initially tries to talk his unlikely protégé Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) out of ‘committing social suicide’ at the school talent show. This segment is a bit longer than those we usually focus on in Great Scenes, but it has to be viewed in its entirety for its car-crashness to be fully appreciated.
The argument the pair have before Marcus bravely takes the stage alone is heartfelt and genuine, as this unlikely couple banter over what actually makes people happy. From there on, we get excrutiating child singing and painful peer group laughter before Will comes to the rescue. With a guitar.
The rest of the scene is just beautiful – uplifting, comic and, thankfully, free from sugar-coating. Of course, after doing a good deed, Will can’t help behaving like a prat, making the finale not only funny, but real too.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SCENE FROM ABOUT A BOY?