A womanising bachelor at 38, Will (Hugh Grant) is not only unmarried but unemployed. Not because he can’t get a job, but because he doesn’t want or need one. His daily mission is to meet and seduce women; single, married, doesn’t matter. On one crafty mission at a single parenting support group, he meets a girl (Victoria Smurfit) whose friend (Toni Collette) has a son"¦called Marcus (Nicholas Hoult). Marcus is a troubled boy with a depressed mum and instead of friends at school, he has bullies to meet every day. When Will catches one of these bully attacks, he sublimates his dislike for kids and tries to befriend Marcus. It leads to an engaging and extraordinary friendship that in turn leads to Will himself growing up. A bit.

It's a comfort film about the value of family, in this lonely day and age.

Grant plays Will Freeman, who's financially independent thanks to royalties from a popular song written by his late father. He divides his time between things he likes doing  watching television, surfing the net for soft-core porn, buying CDs and DVDs and, of course, women. But not any one for longer than two months. He is self admittedly irretrievably superficial. He invents a fictitious son Ned to qualify for membership of SPAT, Single Parents Alone Together, so that he can meet women who need attention. And it's through SPAT that he encounters Marcus, Nicholas Hoult, the 12 year old son of an unreconstructed hippy mother Fiona, Toni Collette. Fiona is seriously depressed and it's having an effect on her son who decides that Will would make a perfect stepfather.

About A Boy was directed by Paul and Chris Weitz who made American Pie, the original. Together with screenwriter Peter Hedges they've done a terrific adaptation of Hornby's novel and Hugh Grant is perfect as Will. You could imagine that he and Hornby are soulmates. Toni Collette is just wonderful as Fiona, she's constantly amazing us as an actress, taking on such an interesting variety of roles. This is a film that avoids a predictable path, it's very enjoyable, it's a comfort film about the value of family – any sort of family – in this lonely day and age. Comments From David Stratton You wouldn't expect an adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel directed by the brothers who made American Pie and produced by Robert De Niro, not to work – but somehow it does. It's a sweet, at times funny, story, Hugh Grant gives one of his better performances, and Toni Collette is terrific in a totally unglamorous role as the suicidal mother. Nicholas Hoult is excellent, too. Witty and appealing.