Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

Wonder Boys (R)
Paramount
Official Site


Director: Curtis Hanson

Producers: Scott Rudin, Curtis Hanson

Written by: Steven Kloves

Cast: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr., Katie Holmes, Rip Torm, Richard Thomas

Rating: **** out of 5

Who'd've thought Michael Douglas could look so adorable? As Grady Tripp, Douglas is a pot-smoking Garrison Keillor teddy bear of a man. WONDER BOYS takes place around a weekend writers' conference at an unnamed Pittsburgh college (Michael Chabon, author of the source novel, is from Pittsburgh) where Grady is a faculty member in the English Department. His fans, his colleagues, and his editor are clamoring for a follow-up to his brilliant, influential, but years-old novel, The Arsonist's Daughter. Trouble is, Grady has a writing problem — he can't stop. His new book is a 2,000-page monster-in-a-box, with no end in sight. His wife has ceased to sympathize with him. In fact, as WONDER BOYS opens, she's left him. Grady grieves about her departure rather abstractly — he hates being a bad buy — but not too deeply, as he's been conducting a long-term affair with Sara, the university chancellor (McDormand). Sara is married to Grady's boss, an officious prig with a DiMaggio-Monroe fixation, who heads of the English Dept. (Thomas, aka John-Boy). Actually, he's a regular enough guy, but as he finds Grady's lack of publishing productivity and perpetual stonedness objectionable, he is, perforce, a prig.

This sort of stacking of the deck is probably what's wrong with WONDER BOYS. Not that it's a bad movie. I quite liked it. I just get a mite tetchy when I know I'm being played.

WONDER BOYS is an interesting and wacky day in the life of a man who needs to find himself. Not that he's way lost — he has an intelligent and strong-minded lover; a significant and successful work to his credit; a following; a job; and a big-ass Victorian house. In fact, it's a little too interesting, weighted as it is with 1) James Leer, a talented young student writer (Maguire) who's a pathological liar; 2) a talented young student editor-wannabe (Holmes) who's nubile and who boards at Grady's house; 3) a wacky, sexually omnivorous editor (Downey); 4) the cross-dresser he picked up on the plane; 5) an enraged bar patron who believes Grady has stolen his car; 6) an ultra-confident, prolific novelist (Torn); 7) Marilyn Monroe's jacket; and 8) a dead dog. It's as if Curtis Hanson, who has spent a bit of idle time since his critical smash, went to extremes to find and direct Not-L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. WONDER BOYS definitely fills the bill.

WONDER BOYS is not the smash that Hanson's previous film was. His comedy is a bit labored compared to his deft touch with red meat like L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. Still, it can be fun, especially if your demographic is arty/literary, morally malaised recreational potheads.

—Roxanne Bogucka


HYBRID Ratings Guide:

***** Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

**** It’s worth a full-price ticket.

*** It’s worth a matinee ticket.

** Wait for video rental.

* Check out the video from the library, if you must.

0 While I would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...



Mike Doughty



none now
-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.