Hugh Grant's most entertaining work, in my opinion, is when he plays the cad. Perhaps the best showcase of his work as a cad was in About a Boy--because he reforms in a rather heartwarming way. Grant appears to be going for a similar role in an untitled romantic comedy. He will play a washed-up screenwriter whose success--including an Oscar win--over a decade ago has since faded away. He takes a job as a professor in at a small college on the East Coast, hoping he'll be put in touch with cute college girls. Then he falls for a single mom.
Marc Lawrence, who has directed Grant in Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics and Did You Hear About the Morgans?, will direct the project, which Castle Rock is producing. Lawrence and Grant's collaborations haven't really been Grant's best work, with mixed critical reactions and waning box-office success. Two Weeks Notice, which co-starred Sandra Bullock, earned $93 million in 2002: a hit. The latter two collaborations did worse: Music and Lyrics earned half as much, $43 million, and Did You Hear About the Morgans? did worse, totaling just $29 million. Of course, cute About a Boy, my favorite, only ended up with $41 million, far below Grant's biggest success, Notting Hill, though Julia Roberts gets a lot of the credit for making that romantic comedy a success.
Another reason I'm behind this romantic comedy, at least in theory, is because it has a logical obstacle to romance. It seems like recently, romantic comedies have finally moved away from using contrived circumstances or petty differences as obstacles as romance. Dating someone with kids is a dealbreaker for some people, and I like the idea of Grant's character trying to wrap his head around dating someone so far away from his ideal. With filming starting this April, it won't be long before audiences find out if this one is a dud or up there with Grant's hits. In the meantime, Grant appears as a number of characters--including a face-painted cannibal--in Cloud Atlas, which comes out this Friday.