By Clint Morris
Is this one of the sweetest films of the last twelve months? Definitely, Maybe.
Is Ryan Reynolds his entertaining and likable self again? Definitely, Maybe.
Is the fact that this rather illogical piece works absolutely staggering? Definitely, Maybe.
Like the glue Grandma used to make in a saucepan for you as a kid, Adam Brooksâ€™ new romantic-comedy wonâ€™t stick for long â€“ but it holds a lot longer than youâ€™d imagine it would. And best of all, thereâ€™s no mess.
Ryan Reynolds (back in comedy mode after tackling some much more serious flicks – like John Augustâ€™s little-seen â€œThe Ninesâ€ and Joe Carnahanâ€™s frenzied actioner â€œSmokinâ€™ Acesâ€) plays Will Hayes, a young father, on the verge of getting a divorce, whose 10-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin of â€œLittle Miss Sunshineâ€) wants to know why her parents are splitting up.
Via a series of flashbacks to the 90s, Hayesâ€™ re-tells the story of how he met young Mayaâ€™s mother â€“ but he changes the names of all (but one) of the different women heâ€™s been with, so that both the audience and daughter can guess for themselves which one mothered his kid. Is it feisty reporter Summer (Rachel Weisz)? Maybe itâ€™s April (Isla Fisher), one of his co-workers in the Clinton campaign office? Or perhaps itâ€™s college sweetheart Emily (Elizabeth Banks)?
What makes â€œDefinitely, Maybeâ€ play even better â€“ and therefore, less messy – than youâ€™d imagine something bearing the shameful marketing line â€œFrom the makers of Bridget Jonesâ€™ Diaryâ€ is the fact that itâ€™s seemingly been written by someone who has lived, loved and come to the realization that, in real life, relationships arenâ€™t as straightforward and uncomplicated as most rom-coms make them out to be. Brooksâ€™ (â€œBridget Jones : The Edge of Reasonâ€) script starts to travel down â€“ or so it seems â€“ an obvious route before it takes a sharp turn down a road far less traveledâ€¦.. a much more â€˜believableâ€™ route. And though at the end of the day youâ€™ll still find parts of the twisty tale hard to swallow, the pragmatic punch line â€“ a semi-serious ender – serves as that tall glass water you need to help the rest go down.
Featuring terrific performances by Ryan Reynolds (I take it heâ€™s playing older here – - in real life he wouldâ€™ve still been in school in 1992) and Australiaâ€™s Isla Fisher (this girl is headed for the top, I tell ya!), â€œDefinitely Maybeâ€ takes what should be a forgettable piece of fluff and grounds itself in some sort of fourth-wall reality. Yes, itâ€™s so sweet and sickly at times that thereâ€™s never a doubt that youâ€™re watching a movie and not a doco, but thereâ€™s a couple of messages (largely how life can take some unexpected turns and how people do get married for all the wrong reasons â€“ but donâ€™t live to regret it) in here that you donâ€™t normally find in a film like this and as a consequence, I think itâ€™ll appeal to a much larger audience than it should.
Good stuff all round.
Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes (Extras Unpreviewed)