Movie Review: Definitely, Maybe

Mood: Smiling

It’s been a while since I took advantage of Tight-Arse Tuesday. So my film companion and I decided it was time to revisit the routine last Tuesday night and take in a new film, if nothing else but to strike another film off my 2008 Movie Mania list. Surprisingly, it didn’t take much to convince him to see Definitely, Maybe.

The synopsis below is gleaned from the official website:

Ryan Reynolds stars as Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad is in the midst of a divorce when his 10-year-old daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love.

Will’s story begins in 1992, as a young, starry-eyed aspiring politician who moves to New York from Wisconsin in order to work on the presidential campaign. For Maya, Will relives his past as an idealistic young man learning the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of big city politics, and recounts the history of his romantic relationships with three very different women.

Will hopelessly attempts a gentler version of his story for his daughter, and changes the names so Maya has to guess who is the woman her father finally married. Is her mother Will’s college sweetheart, the dependable girl next door Emily (Elizabeth Banks)? Is she his longtime best friend and confidante, the apolitical April (Isla Fisher)? Or is she the free-spirited but ambitious journalist Summer (Rachel Weisz)?

As Maya puts together the pieces of her dad’s mystery love story, she begins to understand that love is not so simple or easy. And as Will tells her his tale, Maya helps him to understand that it’s definitely never too late to go back…and maybe even possible to find a happy ending.

This was a really lovely little movie that had great cute factor but was not too cheesy nor OTT sweet / schmaltzy. At a glance, the movie may be deemed a "chick flick" and dismissed by the larger male audience as something they would be dragged kicking and screaming to view, so here are a couple of gems supplied by my male film companion for the uninitiated male:

1) the movie was not as chick flick-y as it could have been, and
2) the guy from Van Wilder was in this movie, so it should be an OK film to watch.

Ryan Reynolds was surprisingly mature as Will, a man finding his way through the disarray of unfulfilled professional aspirations, unrealised romantic dreams and an irreconcilable marriage, all the while trying to maintain a stoic front for his young daughter. Together with Maya, the two navigate through the minefield of Will’s past relationships to rediscover the joys of romance.

Abigail Breslin was really gorgeous as the daughter dealing with the heartbreak of her parents’ divorce. Just as she was sparkling in Little Miss Sunshine, so too was she as the spirited Maya whose quest for information about her parents’ past led her father to his future.

The actresses who played the three women in Will’s life were well suited to their parts. Isla Fisher was especially great as April, the girl who Will was never quite able to achieve perfect synchronicity. Rachel Weisz’s Summer was a bit far-fetched, but she was still luminous to watch on screen. Elizabeth Banks’ Emily did not receive quite as much airtime as the other girls, but her performance matched those of the other two.

My only quibble was with Isla Fisher and Rachel Weisz’s American accents, which were not consistent throughout the movie.

Highly predictable with a few Kleenex moments, this lovely piece of light entertainment would see you leave the cinemas with a smile on your face.

Rating:

Continuing the Six Degrees game, from Charlie Wilson’s War to Definitely, Maybe, there are 2 direct links:

1. Tom Hanks was in Catch Me If You Can (2002) with Elizabeth Banks (II).
2. Julia Roberts (I) will appear in Fireflies in the Garden (2008) with Ryan Reynolds (I).

And Bacon numbers:

Ryan Reynolds (I) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Ryan Reynolds (I) was in Coming Soon (1999) with Bonnie Root.
* Bonnie Root was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Abigail Breslin has a Bacon number of 2.
* Abigail Breslin was in Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The (2006) with Aisha Tyler.
* Aisha Tyler was in Death Sentence (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Isla Fisher has a Bacon number of 2.
* Isla Fisher was in Wedding Crashers (2005) with Kathryn Joosten.
* Kathryn Joosten was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

I have no idea if I will be seeing another movie tomorrow night, nor which movie will be featured if I am. Stay tuned for future reviews!

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