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'About a Boy' Review

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In this Renaissance Golden Age of the TV drama, there are only a smattering of clever comedies on the broadcast schedule. NBC is hoping that their newest entry into the genre, "About a Boy" will make the list.

Based on the eponymous Nick Hornby book and film, which starred Hugh Grant, "About a Boy" is not quite yet such a gem, but it does have potential.

A sneak preview tonight after NBC's Olympic coverage before moving to its regular timeslot on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., should put a lot of eyes on the series, and help it find an audience, but the job will be to keep them tuning in.

Starring, David Walton -- a talented actor in search of a hit, having previously starred in
"Bent," "Perfect Couples," and "100 Questions" -- the story focuses on Will Freeman, who after writing a song, so successful that it leaves him financially independent, leads an allegedly charmed and empty life with plenty of free time on his hands to pursue wine and women, since he already had song.

His idyllic life is on a crash course with that of his new neighbor Fiona (Minnie Driver), a single and very needy mom, and her offbeat 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham). Fiona's neuroses have led her son to become odd enough that the bullies at school pick on him, so Marcus begins dropping by Will's out of self-preservation.

When Will, who with his Peter Pan lifestyle, realizes he can use Marcus as a chick magnet, a friendship begins -- although Will won't admit he has actual feelings for the kid -- and their on-screen relationship works because the two actors have the requisite chemistry. So when Will pulls himself together enough to keep Marcus from committing social suicide at his middle school talent show, it is believable, but also part of the problem.

Some of the best moments in "About a Boy" come from the conflict between Will and Fiona, and with everything seemingly tied up at the end of the pilot, like a mini-movie, it remains to be seen where the series is headed.

Executive Producer Jason Katims has previously successfully taken "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood" from the big screen to the little, so let's hope that he has something up his sleeve to polish "About a Boy" into the diamond NBC is hoping it will be.


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