A big budget Hollywood film that
doesn't cue its viewers on when or whether to laugh or cry is rare enough, an
all-star film that mixes gay and straight characters like different candles on
a cake without stereotyping or pandering is practically unheard of.
In Wonder Boys, Grady Tripp
-- Michael Douglas with a career resurrecting performance as a pot addled
professor -- leads a confused young writing student, James Leer -- Tobey
Maguire gives an astonishing tour de force as a shyly sheepish dog slaying
trickster, a guileless Eve Harrington, whose deadpan flat line readings allow
all kinds of lies to glide off his tongue -- to the holy grail of suicidal
movie stardom: the jacket worn by Marilyn Monroe the day she married baseball
great Joe DiMaggio.
In a world where few good deeds go
unpunished, Grady's selfless act of mentoring soon has a body count: a
lecherous gay book editor (Robert Downey, Jr., whose soft whisper, "Jimmy,
Jimmy, Jimmy," to Maguire is alone worth the price of admission), a six
foot tall transvestite, a pregnant university chancellor, a 2600 page
unfinished novel, a dead dog and a tuba.
Wonder Boys is a
pro-recreational drugs gender friendly zone, a real treat for lovers of all
persuasions -- hands down one of the top adult comedies of the decade, a deft
adaptation of Michael Chabon's hilarious novel about a trio of adult men who
need all the help they can get to deserve that description -- a template for
getting an "A" list cast to tackle subversive indie film themes. This
remains one of Michael Douglas' most humane performances and the only time, I
believe, Tobey Maguire has played a possibly gay character.
Features: widescreen, cast and crew
interviews and director Curtis Hanson's commentary on the songs of Wonder
Boys. Among this beautiful film's many distinctions is the best
song Oscar it afforded Bob Dylan.