Baltimore Sun’s BEST party in 2 weeks

Nicholas Hoult

PLEASANT TO A FAULT

Let other critics complain about cookie-cutter crowd-pleasers with tormented adolescents battling super-villains and yearning for unreachable damsels in distress.

What about the shared banalities of this season's "human" critical favorites? Join two antithetical characters by accident, leap continually between them, fuel their antagonism to flashpoint, bond them indelibly in an upbeat finish - and you have the urban thriller Changing Lanes as well as today's delayed-coming-of-age comedy, About a Boy.

In what may be a key theme for 2002, both depict hollow city slickers finding their soul when they help psychologically damaged strangers. For flesh-and-blood...

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