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ABOUT A BOY

By GUY FLATLEY

CAST: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, Isabel Brook, Sharon Small, Victoria Smurfit, Nicholas Hutchison, Peter McNicholl, Ben Ridgeway

DIRECTORS: Chris and Paul Weitz

SCREENWRITERS: Peter Hedges, Chris and Paul Weitz

Our hero is a self-absorbed hedonist-about-London who's never held down a job, lives off the royalties from a cheesy Christmas song written by his father, and makes a habit of telling stupid whoppers to get women into the sack. After discovering that single mothers are the easiest lays (they're sex-starved, give great massages, and won't chain a man down because they themselves are chained down by their children), he somehow gets tricked into bonding with a 12-year-old nerd whose whiny, suicidal mother he finds ferociously unattractive. In the end, the kid makes a man of him.

Do you find that side-splittingly funny? Then there is a chance you'll be entertained by this flaccid, witless, depressing soap-operatic sitcom, an attempt by American siblings Chris and Paul Weitz to manufacture a British romp in the style of "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones's Diary." Alas, it takes more than the presence of Hugh Grant--looking spent and bored, despite his incessant mugging--to transform a flimsy scenario into a solid, resonant romantic comedy. This "Boy" suffers from stunted growth.