Wonder Boys is a 2000 comedy-drama film written by Steve Kloves and directed by Curtis Hanson. Based on the 1995 novel by Michael Chabon, it revolves around Pittsburgh college professor/novelist Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) who, over the course of a weekend, has to handle a troubled student (Tobey Maguire), his unfinished novel (also called Wonder Boys), his pregnant girlfriend (the chancellor of the college and his boss' wife), a purloined jacket and a dead dog.
The film also stars Katie Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. and Frances McDormand. It was nominated for three Academy Awards and earned Bob Dylan a Best Original Song Oscar for "Things Have Changed."
This movie contains examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Chabon describes both Grady and Sara in the novel as being noticeably overweight, but are respectively played by the fairly slim Michael Douglas and Frances Mcdormand in the movie.
- Adaptation Distillation: The film is largely faithful to the novel across the board, with the only major omissions being the extended interlude at Grady's in-laws, Grady's aborted reconciliation with Emily, and the revelation of James' possible Jewish ancestry.
- Brainy Brunette: James.
- Consummate Liar: James Leer.
- Doorstopper: Grady's 2000+ page book.James: Is... all of that single space?
- Erudite Stoner: Grady.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Sara's husband is clueless about her affair with Grady. His blind(!) dog, Poe, on the other hand...
- The Ghost: Grady's (now ex-) wife Emily, who appears only in a single photograph and is neither seen nor heard from otherwise.
- MacGuffin: Marilyn Monroe's jacket.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Vernon Hardapple.
- Parental Abandonment: James tells Grady his parents are dead and he's being raised by his grandparents. Or not.
- Race Lift: In the novel, Grady's ex-wife Emily (and her two siblings) were adopted from Korea, but the sole photograph we see of Emily in the movie depicts her as caucasian; her siblings do not appear at all.
- Shoot the Dog: Literally. Poe had it coming, though.
- Sleeping Dummy: Poe finally comes in handy.
- Thinking Out Loud: James narrates as he's carried out of an auditorium.James: The doors made so much noise!Grady: Is he all right?James: It was so embarrassing! He had to be carried out.Terry: He's fine. He's narrating.James: They were going to the restroom. But would they make it in time?
- Teacher/Student Romance: Hannah Green wants to start one with Grady. He's tempted.
- Tough Act to Follow: In-Universe. Grady's previous book The Arsonist's Daughter.
- Trophy Room: Walter's sports memorabilia closet.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Miss Antonia Sloviak.
- World of Snark
- Writer's Block: Subverted. Grady can't stop writing.