Michael Douglas plays Professor Grady Tripp, who is grappling with his difficult second novel when an enigmatic student and his drug-addled publisher take him on a journey of self discovery over one surreal weekend.
Probably best described as Fear And Loathing for the leather elbow patch set, Wonder Boys is a stoner film with a difference. Sometimes when a writer writes about a writer writing it can be horribly pretentious and self indulgent. But sometimes, if done with the right level of wit and self awareness, it can be a hugely enjoyable diversion; Adaptation is one example and this is another. It does skirt around the borders of self-indulgence, but Douglas has never been less obnoxious and his supporting cast – particularly Robert Downey Jr in his familiar guise as likable self-absorbed hedonist – are all good fun.
The dialogue makes a decent fist of emulating the witty banter of the screwball comedies of the golden age and although it does descend into the usual feelgood sappiness by the conclusion, Wonder Boys takes you on an refreshingly offbeat ride along the way.