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Laramie Movie Scope:
About a Boy

An emotionally stunted bachelor matures from a boy's friendship

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2002) "I'd created a monster," says Will Lightman (Hugh Grant), who watches Bride of Frankenstein on the telly, of 12-year-old Marcus Brewer (Nicholas Hoult): "Or maybe he created me."

A 38-year-old, lightweight individual ("emotionally stunted" in his sister Christine's estimation), living in luxury in London off his father's royalties from a holiday novelty song composed in 1958, who regards himself ("I like to think I'm pretty cool") as an island (Ibiza) of self-satisfaction with everything he needs for entertainment, flitting from one relationship to the next (on The Will Show in which he's the star and everyone else is a guest), makes a wholly new discovery during his fling with Angie ("You are a wonderful person"), a single mother with a three-year-old. Single mums offer "passionate sex, a lot of ego massage, and a guilt-free parting."

But where could he mine this gold? As the only male attending a Single Parents Alone Together (SPAT) meeting, after listening to the mothers describing their circumstances ("men are bastards"),Will invents Ned, his two-year-old abandoned by his wife; he makes acquaintance with Suzie (Victoria Smurfit). On a picnic outing with Will (claiming his imaginary child is spending the day with its mother) Suzie brings along Marcus, the son of her friend Fiona (Toni Collette), a music therapist.

The occasion becomes unforgettably known as Dead Duck Day (Marcus accidentally kills a water fowl upon hurling his mother's loaf of homemade bread into the pond), for upon returning Marcus to his flat, they find Fiona in need of emergency treatment following an attempted suicide.

When his mum returns home from the hospital, Marcus - who has his own problems at school with bullies picking on him and an involuntary habit of breaking into song at inappropriate times - comes to the conclusion that "Two people isn't enough," since he can't watch over his depressed parent all the time (her sadness and crying spells are as incomprehensible as algebra); he needs a backup, so he calls upon Will.

At first he's willing to play the part of "cool Uncle Will," until he realizes: "You have to mean things to help people." Uncaring for the plight of others, interpreting "Ms Granola suicide with her spawn" as punishment for dating Suzie, Will attempts to shun them; but Marcus trails Will and persistently shows up at his flat: "You don't have a kid, do you?"

Marcus's effort at blackmail - promising not to reveal Will's perfidy if he will go out with Fiona - only goes so far as a lunch date, including Marcus. Nevertheless, Marcus sort of grows on Will, who takes the boy shopping ("Nothing in it for me at all") for new trainers: "I can make you blend in with the crowd."

Following Christmas Day ("warm, fuzzy feeling") with Marcus, his mother, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the girlfriend's mother, during which Will gives Marcus a hip-hop CD and CD player, he asks Marcus for a favor of pretending to be his son after meeting Rachel (Rachel Weisz), an attractive single mother ("So what do you do?"), at a New Year's Eve party.

Both Will and Marcus supply narration for their sides of this relationship and sing "Killing Me Softly" in directors Chris and Paul Weitz's romcom (collaborating with Peter Hedges for the screenplay), adapted from Nick Hornby's novel.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2010 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)