Wonder Boys follows Grady Tripp, a professor and once accomplished author who’s going through a bit of a rough patch. During the week of WordFest, Grady’s wife leaves him and his editor, played by Robert Downey Jr. arrives to hound him over an unfinished novel. Let’s consider the pros and cons of Wonder Boys…
Pros: Michael Douglas is playing against his usual Wall Street type, but he carries this movie with an endearing performance. Tobey Maguire plays an awkward yet gifted student in Grady’s class, and is also able to shine in several scenes. The chemistry between these two tormented individuals is riveting and gives the audience a reason to be invested in their characters! Lastly, I appreciate the tone and theme in this movie. It’s clear that Grady is having a difficult time, and while he does his fair share of wallowing, he still supports the people around him. Eventually it’s his friends that show him how far a little support can go, and this message genuinely resonated with me.
Cons: This movie is a delight overall, but it takes a while to get going and leans heavily on the narration throughout. Although I’m typically not a fan of narration, this movie uses it to it’s advantage by providing a window into Grady’s poetic mind. Lastly, the plot feels chaotic and stagnant at times. Including the dead dog storyline which is played for laughs, but is morbid and doesn’t add much to the story.
I give Wonder Boys a B+. The plot is messy like Grady’s life, but the ending delivers a brilliant payoff that wraps the story up nicely. If you are or ever were an aspiring writer, this story will surely inspire you! Happy Watching!
“Take a bow, James!”