MV5BMTYzMTQ1MjczOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDg5MTI4Mg@@._V1._SX269_SY400_These boys are definitely worth a couple of hours of your time. All three, Clive Owen and the two young actors who play his sons, give wonderful performances in The Boys Are Back. It’s the story of sportswriter Joe Warr, played by Owen, who becomes a single parent when his wife dies of cancer. It’s a story that could have easily veered into tearjerker territory, and I was ready for that with lots of tissues on hand, but it didn’t. Sure there were a few moments when I shed a tear, but there were also moments when I laughed and a few when I wanted to smack Joe in the back of the head for his male obliviousness.

The movie is “inspired by a true story” and it could easily have gone in a very Hollywood cliché direction but it doesn’t.  Joe doesn’t become a perfect father overnight, nor is he a complete lout. He’s just a guy in a terrible situation trying to figure it all out and do right by his sons – six year old Artie, played by Nicholas McAnulty and teenager Harry played by George MacKay (a Rupert Grint lookalike). Joe and Artie are just beginning to move through their grief when Harry, Joe’s son from his first marriage, comes to live with them in Australia.  Joe’s theory on parenting is “just say yes” so it’s a testosterone filled household that’s light on rules and big on messiness.  Eventually it all starts to fall apart and the “boys” have to figure out how to make it all work and heal their emotional wounds.

It’s a sweet and realistic story about dealing with grief and male bonding.  Plus, for the chicks, there’s the added bonus of getting to see the always sexy Clive Owen show his sensitive side. Bravo for the boys.

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