Review of “Definitely, Maybe” (2008) PG-13
February 17th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 5,672 Views
The plot: Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds – Sabrina the Teenage Witch, In Cold Blood, The Outer Limits series, Dick, Van Wilder, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, Blade: Trinity, Smokin’ Aces etc), a 30-something man in the midst of a divorce, suddenly finds his 10 year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin – Signs, What I Like About You, Raising Helen, Family Plan, Ghost Whisperer, Little Miss Sunshine, Santa Clause 3, No Reservations and more – quite an impressive resume for a 11 year-old) wanting to know everything about how he and her mother fell in love. Scrambling to find a way to present a gentler version of his story to Maya, Will changes the names of the three women with whom he was once in love, in order to make Maya guess which is the one he finally married. And as Maya puts together the pieces of the story, she also helps her dad realize that it may not be too late to go back and find a happy ending.
The movie is written and directed by Adam Brooks, who also wrote such movies as Wimbledon and Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. Produced by Tim Bevan, who also produced almost hundred movies including Dead Man Walking, Fargo, Elizabeth, Noting Hill, High Fidelity, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Cried, Bridget Jones Diary, Captain Corelli’s Mandoline, The Guru, About A Boy, The Italian Job, Love Actually, Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, Wimbledon, and recently, Atonement.
Enough introductions. This is pretty nice romantic comedy about a guy who is forced by his daughter into a reality check and to rethink his past relationships.
The good: the little girl who played Maya, Abigail Breslin, was awesome and cute, especially with her sincere judgements about life and her father and when she was preparing to listen to her dad’s story in her bed, also placing her soft toys around her, so they can listen too. Her comments were hilarious. Beautiful Rachel Weisz was great as always. I’ve nothing of that sort to say about Elizabeth Banks, who played Emily, Will’s high-school sweetheart – she just had nothing to work with. Another young actress, Isla Fisher, is getting better with every movie she plays in: she was pretty good as Lovlee in The Lookout, and now she was a pleasure to watch. Ryan Raynolds carries the movie throughout. Nice music. The movie doesn’t pretend that it’s not a date movie or a chick flick. Kevin Kline was fantastic. I didn’t recognize him at once with the beard, but later I understood it was him by his voice and acting style. He was great, to the point that he stole every scene he was in, including his appearance on the photo.
The bad: a lot of cheesy moments. When Will meets Summer (Rachel Weisz), she practically jumped him right there, after they were introduced and exchanged a few complements about each other – that was not at all believable and too easy; I guess the point if this sequence was to show that Rachel Weisz’s character can get all she wants. Everybody was too cute. Not original enough: without the little girl it would be a remake of When Harry Met Sally.
There are a lot of references to 1992 Bill Clinton campaign and his near-impeachment, and that’s an interesting way to create some temporal background. In Love Actually there was a mere hint to the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship set between fictional British prime minister and an intern, but in this movie they just used the news footage from 16 years ago. One of the purposes of this was, in my opinion, to show that people of all sorts can and do get attracted to other people, and sometimes end up making trouble. Will’s participation in the campaign also adds a lot of spice to the story.
The summary: A sweet and fluffy, but intelligent romantic feel-good comedy with rather timely release: St Valentine’s Day. It’s is not as good as Love Actually, which was a romantic comedy AND a date movie AND a Christmas feel-good movie, but we enjoyed it. It’s a chick flick, but the guys might enjoy this movie too. Even if they won’t, their dates will, and that’s always what it’s about.
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Abigail Breslin | divorce | father daughter relationship | New York | presidential campaign | Rachel Weisz | sex education | Single father | volunteer