ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

About a Boy (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: May 18, 2002
CAP Score: 37
CAP Influence Density: 1.65

MinMax: -100

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

ABOUT A BOY (PG-13) -- Touching it was. But....

Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Chris and Paul Weitz
Producer(s): Nicky Kentish Barnes, Tim Bevan, Liza Chasin, Robert De Niro, Brad Epstein, Eric Fellner, Lynn Harris, Debra Hayward, Nick Hornby, Hardy Justice, Jane Rosenthal
Written by/Screenplay: Novel: Nick Hornby, Screenplay: Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

Cinematography/Camera: Remi Adefarasin
Music: Damon Gough
Film Editing: Nick Moore
Casting: Priscilla John
Art Direction: Gary Freeman, Rod McLean

Boxart ©Universal Pictures

About a Boy is another R-13. With all these R-13 movies being made (five in a row), one might begin to doubt the credibility of the CAP analysis model. The CAP model has used the same equations, the same computer application, the same procedures, the same investigation standards (the teachings of Jesus) for seven years. Which do you think has changed? The CAP model? Or the movies? When you realize the same sibling pair who directed American Pie directed this movie, you might have a idea with what we are dealing.

Adolescent adult Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) is thirty-eight years old. He has never had a job. He lives off daddy's royalties from a single song. He doesn't want a relationship. He wants only one-night stands. And he has a pretend two year old son "Ned" to influence women; a two year old son that can intellectually discuss complex issues of life. Will's self-proclaimed purpose in life is to be a shallow cad, using people in a likable way and never becoming attached ... until Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) comes along. The one who knows he would be a lousy husband discovers he might not be a bad father.

On a spree to meet single women, Will meets Fiona at a SPAT meeting, a delightfully humorous if not chauvinistic name for a gathering of divorced/single mothers -- "Single Parents Alone Together." Will was focusing on "single", not "mothers" much to his chagrin, at the beginning at least. It is through Susie (Victoria Smurfit), the single mother he is dating, who has a 10-or-so year old son who is less than model, that Will meets Fiona (Toni Collette), a single mom who has a son also -- Marcus.

On a date with Suzie, Fiona comes along and, of course, so does Marcus. In a rather novel way for a formula movie Will begins an attachment with Marcus. Marcus was feeding the ducks in a park pond with his mother's brick bread that no one but the ducks could eat when, out of frustration, throws the bread into the pond and kills a duck with it. Will comes to the "rescue" by compounding Marcus' lies to a police officer about how the duck was killed. However impure such a beginning might be because of being started on lies, a beginning was started.

On another day, Marcus found his depressed mother unconscious from a suicide attempt by drug overdose. Will was "there" for Marcus and the bond solidified, for Marcus anyway. From that day, Marcus hounds Will by showing up at Will's apartment every afternoon after school. Will finds Marcus is tormented by the other kids, mainly because on the first day of school, Fiona loudly proclaimed that she loves Marcus ... right in front of all the other kids. So, in an attempt to build Marcus' self-respect, Will buys Marcus a designer pair of sneakers which Fiona was not too happy about. Marching Marcus and the shoes to Will's apartment, Fiona discovers through Will's familiarity with Marcus, unbeknownst to Fiona, a few things through Will she was not yet aware.

One of the more clever times Marcus invaded Will's apartment was presented as Will cranking up the volume of his audio equipment to drown out the sound of the doorbell Marcus was ringing. Inventive and somewhat abrasive as Marcus was, Marcus started punching the doorbell in time with the music in a way as to be heard between the major beats. Marcus was determined to get Will as his new father.

Many things happen to fortify the bonding between Will and Marcus. One of the more memorable was when Marcus performed in a talent show singing "Killing Me Softly" which he and his mother sang often. But such a song was not wise for Marcus' social standing since he was the brunt of all the tormenting. But yet Marcus stood strong and performed the song because of his love for his mother, Fiona. After pelting and jabs began, Will stepped in and accompanied Marcus on guitar. Touching it was.

But... Yes there seems to always be a "but." The number of times the three/four letter word vocabulary by an adolescent nearly outnumbers the times it is used by adults [2Tim. 2:16, Col. 3:8]. How's that for an example for your kids? The number of language issues were so many that this movie earned a zero in Impudence/Hate. The issues of violence included the attempted suicide by drug overdose, adolescent tormenting and adolescent threats to kill. Sex/Homosexuality was rampant with "lite" sexual issues. No nudity but lots of sex talk, comments, anatomical references and "locker room" sexual advice to a child [Gal. 5:19, Eph. 5:4]. There were also drug-related, alcohol and smoking issues. Topping the list of ignominy was the lying and encouragements to lie [Rev. 21:8, Luke 17:2]. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal all that was noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • 2Tim. 2:16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    About A Boy (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • adolescents tormenting an adolescent
  • attempted suicide by drug overdose
  • adolescent threats to kill
  • reckless driving

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 35 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, 16 of which were by a child
  • lies to sway a relationship
  • hateful reaction to attempted suicide
  • child yelling at mother
  • facial piercings
  • willingness to lie
  • lying and encouragings to lie, repeatedly
  • punk dress

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adulterous comments
  • sexual comments, innuendo, talk, repeatedly
  • anatomical reference
  • man in tub
  • sex talk by a child, repeatedly
  • sex advice to a child

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • admission of illegal drug use

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 22 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive, 8 by a child

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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