Quiet desperation, academic back-biting and suicidal despair are made simultaneously funny and utterly believable in novelist Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys,
which screenwriter Steven Kloves and director Curtis Hanson have translated to
film with its sly sense of humor and sharply telling details intact. Fabulously acted and gleefully sardonic, it's a darkly comic coming-of-age story in which a college student and a middle-aged professor stumble through a series of loopy rites of passage together. One-time wunderkinder Grady
Tripp (Michael Douglas) is terrified that he's a one-hit wonder; his first novel was a huge success, but his second manuscript — seven ye...