"About A Boy" is easily one of the best, and most underrated, sitcoms of the last decade. Having watched most of the series when it originally aired, and having just watched the unaired episodes on Netflix, I can safely say that while it's not a perfect show by any means, it's still tremendously enjoyable throughout both seasons. Some of the usual sitcoms are present: the contrived situations pop up here and there, the characters are occasionally too over-the-top, and everything is very conveniently wrapped up in 22 minutes, but it's very easy to look past those flaws just based on how funny the majority of the episodes are.
The basic premise of the show, which is that a 35-year-old man child becomes becomes best friends with his 11-year-old neighbor, could come off as both creepy and incredibly sad with the wrong people behind it. Showrunner Jason Katims managed to make the premise work, not only by making the whole thing more believable than it should be, but most importantly, by casting exactly the right people. David Walton is perfect in the role of Will Freeman, a man who has never quite grown up. Walton doesn't play the character as a goofy Adam Sandler type. He's more of a regular guy who just happens to be a bit immature and carefree. Walton is great with one liners and incredibly charismatic, which makes it easier to forgive his character's dumb mistakes. His chemistry with both Bejamin Stockholm and Minnie Driver (as his neighbors) is what drives the show. Some would argue that the sentimental nature of the relationship between the three of them make the show too overtly sweet, though I never had a problem with it. The sentimentality is part of what the show is, and it's genuinely touching at times. Even though the show was canceled after two seasons, the last episode functions as a good enough series finale that leaves viewers with a strong indication of the direction the show was likely to go in.
It's not hard to see why the show didn't last. The ratings were really low, and some fans of the novel and previous film adaptation didn't think the show measured up. I can't really compare "About A Boy" to the novel its based upon, or the 2002 film adaption since I only have vague memories of both. If nothing else, the show makes me want to check out both again. "About A Boy" is well worth watching even for those who don't usually like sitcoms. Recommended. 9/10
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