But a more well-known movie like “About a Boy”? It happened. And it worked.
Creator Jason Katims picked his third movie to adapt for TV, and the show is doing something right.
I’ll put it out there and say the TV show, which was renewed for a second season after a winter series premiere, is better than the movie.
The 2002 movie, which was based on a Nick Hornby novel and starred Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz and a young Nicholas Hoult (you know, that guy who’s dating Jennifer Lawrence), is much darker than the TV show.
Within the first 30 or so minutes of the movie, the boy’s mom, Fiona, played by Toni Collette, is found in her home unconscious after a suicide attempt.
On the TV show, the mother-son duo are still on their own, and yes, the mom is more into nature than work, but she’s not anywhere near a suicide attempt.
In the movie, the focus is more about making his mom feel better, so it takes a more somber approach.
The TV show takes a happier, carefree approach, and it also focuses on the relationship between Will, played by David Walton, and Marcus, played by Benjamin Stockham.
A pivotal plot point personifies the somber vs. happy approach. The plot revolves around the boy wanting to sing a song for his mom. In the movie, it’s the hit “Killing Me Softly,” but on the show, it’s One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” Both times, singing the song is viewed as a social mishap, but Will saves the day.
Small differences abound between the movie and TV show. The movie takes place in England; the show is in America (though Minnie Driver, who plays Fiona, keeps her British accent.). In the movie Marcus and Will bond over the TV show “Countdown,” while on TV, they bond over eating ribs, which Marcus can’t eat because, as it is in the movie, Fiona doesn’t allow meat in the house. Also, in the movie, it’s Will’s father who wrote the hit Christmas song that allows Will to not work, but in the TV show, Will wrote the song.
The plot of the TV show pilot is all but the last five or so minutes of the movie, which allows the show to further explore the Will-Marcus relationship, which to me is more interesting and fun to watch than the mother-son relationship.
It’s quirky, but on the show Will and Marcus have a blast while learning from each other.
“About a Boy” will return at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 14 on NBC.
What do you think? Have you watched both?