This week, two movies with the word "Boy" in the title are pitted against each other. One, a sweet coming-of-age tale about a man and a child who aren't related. The other, a disaster of a who-knows-what about a man and another man who are related.
But which is the one to see?!?! Answers lie ahead.
See "About a Boy"
During the height of Hugh Grant's rom-com reign, he starred in this dramedy based on Nick Hornby's best selling novel, to this day the best work the Weitz brothers have been a part of. Fact. This story tracks a Lothario who accidentally befriends a twelve-year-old boy while attempting to romance single mothers, and the two end up coming of age together, even though Grant is fully "of age" already, chronologically speaking.
"About a Boy" introduced the world to Nicholas Hoult, who went on to get nekkid both on the UK hit teen show "Skins" and with Colin Firth in "A Single Man," then date Jennifer Lawrence both in "X-Men: First Class" and in real life. Well done, Mr. Hoult. The film was widely beloved, chosen by AFI as one of 2002's best, and nettied an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack has become a classic as well, as his score and original songs used in the film catapulted the British singer/songwriter into the American mainstream.
Sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has been described as skillful, entertaining and touching, and is Hugh Grant's last great starring role. (If you don't count "Two Weeks Notice". Which allegedly most people don't.) If you find yourself simply dying to watch a movie with the word boy in the title this week, make it this one.
Not "That's My Boy"
For so long, all anyone wanted to see was Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler play relations in a movie. Okay, so "all anyone wanted to see" may be a bit of an exaggeration, but this was just such an exciting prospect! Samberg is fairly reliable in his hilarity and Sandler at least used to be hilarious. This could have been the movie to remind everyone of Sandler's talent as audiences across the country marveled at his comedic chemistry with his whippersnapper of a doppleganger.
Unfortunately for us all, "That's My Boy" ended up being the opposite of everything that is good. The film is about an absentee father who returns on the eve of his son's wedding. The film has been criticized for being perhaps Sandler's most offensive work yet, as major plot points in the film surround statutory rape and incest, but less in a "let's learn from this" sort of way, and more "ohmygosh, how funny are these horrible things?!" sort of way. With a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, clearly *some* people out there enjoyed the film, but reading the bulk of reviews with words like cringeworthy, ugly, time waster, and puerile, you realize you simply don't care if two people liked it when 70,000 didn't.
Sorry, "That's My Boy." You has a lose.