When his wife unexpectedly takes ill and dies, Australian sports writer Joe Warr (Clive Owen) is suddenly left to raise his young son (Nicholas McAnulty) on his own. His life is further turned upside down when Harry (George MacKay), his teenage son from a previous marriage, comes to live with them. Joe's easy-breezy brand of discipline comes into question as he attempts to balance fatherhood, his career, and a potential love with another single parent.
There's not just a whole lot to say about "The Boys Are Back" other than a whole hearted, "Meh." The thing about this plotline, the "widowed spouse tries to cope with loss and learn how to be a parent" concept, is that there isn't much of anywhere to go. If you don't have great acting or an intriguing addition twist (like "Sleepless in Seattle") then the audience pretty much knows the drill. Owen gives a satisfactory performance but it's far from inspired or heartfelt and he, like the film he's operating in, simply goes through the motions. It's not boring per se, it's just that nothing much happens. The scenes are a bit choppy and I never felt like the characters or the story itself had room for development. Save for a scene or two, Joe doesn't really deal with his grief and we don't get a whole lot of bonding between father and son. Joe's form of parenting seems to be to let his boys do pretty much whatever they want up to and including riding on the hood of his Land Rover while he drives down a beach. I think the movie wants us to see how a carefree, fun dad learns to be a more well-rounded father figure but again, there's not much of a transition. It's not that "Boys" is a bad film, it's just simply not that good.
It's never a good sign when I use "just" that many times in one post,