Wonder Boys

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Curtis Hanson
Writer:Steve Kloves
Paramount Pictures; R; 112 minutes
Cast:Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes
Based on the novel by Michael Chabon

Wonder Boys is a fresh take on college life and the arrested development endemic to liberal arts universities. Michael Douglas steers the ship as a pothead professor trying to build a second novel on par with his initial success. In addition to a bad case of writer's block, he's gotten the head of the English department's wife (France McDormand) pregnant and feels threatened by a troubled yet brilliant student, James (Tobey Maguire). The plot?a middle-aged man attempting to renew his lease on life?is oddly matched to Douglas' actual one, with him engaged to 30?year-old actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who's expecting a child later in the year.

The movie is original, with Douglas shaking off his usual creepiness for a full-bodied role. Maguire, fresh from The Cider House Rules, continues to demonstrate unusual amounts of talent.

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