Wonder Boys (2000)

WONDER BOYS is director Curtis Hanson's first film after L.A. 
CONFIDENTIAL and, while a comedy, it, too, is a complex, coolly-
played tale.  Michael Douglas, in refreshing down-and-out mode, is 
an English professor whose troubles-of-late culminate on several 
fronts, from the unexpected pregnancy of his married, University 
Chancellor girlfriend (Frances McDormand) to the arrival in town of 
the editor who published his first novel (Robert Downey Jr.) but 
isn't aware that his long-awaited follow-up is far from finished.
(A dead dog, an old car, and a coat once owned by Marilyn Monroe 
also figger into the plot.)  Seeing Douglas excel in something oth-
er than hard-assed, hard-edged drama is probably alone worth the 
price of admission.  The supporting cast is super-sharp, too, and 
the many screwball shenanigans are good for a good laugh.  Too bad 
the whole thing drags.  Expect to watch your watch.  With Tobey Ma-
guire, Katie Holmes, and Rip Torn.  From the novel by Michael Cha-
bon.  (Rated "R"/108 min.)
Grade: B

Copyright 2000 Michael J. Legeros
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