I'm surprised that this information hasn't creeped into my blogs yet this week, but have I mentioned I have a musical opening tomorrow? A musical that I am starring in? It's crunch time and I'm starting to feel the effects. It's a rather high-pressure role too, given that I am playing Bob Wallace in "White Christmas", the role immortalized by Bing Crosby in the famous film version. I don't look or sound anything like Bing, so I really hope the audience who comes to see this show...no doubt highly versed in the film...will accept me in the part. I already have visions of, despite all my hard work up to this point, getting hit in the head with something thrown by an angry audience member during my "Blue Skies" solo. I know this is ridiculous and unfounded...everyone who has seen me has told me that I am doing a fine job in the part, but I guess this goes back to those old fears of falling on one's face from junior high and high school. You always got the impression that people were just waiting to make fun of you. This feeling goes hand in hand with one of the themes from today's film, that of committing "social suicide" in front of an audience. There is more to it of course, but a connection made is always helpful when you're writing. Today's film is yet another one which features only a few scenes set during Christmas, but which has many themes (unlike the one mentioned) that are in keeping with the ideals we keep about the holiday season. It's time for a more simple story...a story about a girl, about a man, and About a Boy.
Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) lives a very comfortable and leisurely lifestyle in London thanks to substantial royalties left to him from the successful Christmas song that his father composed. Will does not need to work and spends most of his free time watching television, and reading about pop culture. When Will's friends, Christine (Sharon Small) and John (Nicholas Hutchinson), ask him to be the godfather of their second child, Will bluntly refuses, insisting that he "really is that shallow". In an attempt to avoid spending time with the couple, Will meets Angie (Isabel Brook), a single mother, but the two only share a brief relationship which, to Will's surprise actually ends amicably. Afterward, Will comes up with the idea of attending a single-parents group called "SPAT" (Single Parents Alone Together) to meet potential female partners. As part of his ploy, he claims to have a two-year-old son named Ned. During his stint with the group he attends a picnic where he meets 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult). Marcus is a somewhat morose boy with a single mother, Fiona (Toni Collette) and Will takes pity on him when Marcus accidentally kills a duck by feeding it a stale bread crumb. Will takes Marcus home and finds that Fiona has attempted suicide. After Marcus tries to get Will and Fiona to date...to disastrous results...Marcus makes the discovery that Will actually is childless. Marcus then blackmails Will into letting him hang out at Will's home after school everyday. Will and Marcus soon begin to bond and their relationship begins to grow, but will Will be able to retain the responsibility required for being the mentor of a child?
About a Boy has two Christmas scenes, one in the middle and one at the end, and each one helps to cement the relationship between Will and Marcus. In the first, Will gives Marcus the somewhat unorthodox gift of a explicit Mystikal CD that features the song "Shake Ya Ass"...which the singing of in school enamours him to his crush, Ellie (Nat Gastiain Tena). Marcus decides that Will is a friend and confidant after this Christmas. The second Christmas closes the film and shows how the different relationships of the film have all come together and gelled into something of a non-traditional family. Each of them has gained strength from being in the other's life and I feel like this is one of the key meanings during the holidays. People put a great deal of importance on being with family during the holidays and so I feel that this theme alone ought to qualify the film in my line up this year. Christmas is a time of bonding and a time of being together. Of course, the Christmassy side of the film is not the only reason to see it...you should also see it because it's simply a great film. Yes, it's yet another one where selfish Hugh Grant learns to be unselfish and yet another one with a precocious child at the center of it. However, despite those cliches the film works and excells both as a comedy and as a touching piece of cinema. The fact that it was adapted from a book only makes it better. See this one if you haven't already...and good luck getting that Mystikal song out of your head!