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Definitely, Maybe [DVD]

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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 Brooks’ new romantic-comedy won’t stick for long – but it holds a lot longer than you’d imagine it would. And best of all, there’s no mess.

Ryan Reynolds (back in comedy mode after tackling some much more serious flicks – like John August’s little-seen “The Nines” and Joe Carnahan’s frenzied actioner “Smokin’ Aces”) plays Will Hayes, a young father, on the verge of getting a divorce, whose 10-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin of “Little Miss Sunshine”) wants to know why her parents are splitting up.

Via a series of flashbacks to the 90s, Hayes’ re-tells the story of how he met young Maya’s mother – but he changes the names of all (but one) of the different women he’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 it’s April (Isla Fisher), one of his co-workers in the Clinton campaign office? Or perhaps it’s college sweetheart Emily (Elizabeth Banks)?

What makes “Definitely, Maybe” play even better – and therefore, less messy – than you’d imagine something bearing the shameful marketing line “From the makers of Bridget Jones’ Diary” is the fact that it’s seemingly been written by someone who has lived, loved and come to the realization that, in real life, relationships aren’t as straightforward and uncomplicated as most rom-coms make them out to be. Brooks’ (“Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason”) script starts to travel down – or so it seems – an obvious route before it takes a sharp turn down a road far less traveled….. a much more ‘believable’ route. And though at the end of the day you’ll still find parts of the twisty tale hard to swallow, the pragmatic punch line – 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 he’s playing older here – – in real life he would’ve still been in school in 1992) and Australia’s Isla Fisher (this girl is headed for the top, I tell ya!), “Definitely Maybe” takes what should be a forgettable piece of fluff and grounds itself in some sort of fourth-wall reality. Yes, it’s so sweet and sickly at times that there’s never a doubt that you’re watching a movie and not a doco, but there’s a couple of messages (largely how life can take some unexpected turns and how people do get married for all the wrong reasons – but don’t live to regret it) in here that you don’t normally find in a film like this and as a consequence, I think it’ll appeal to a much larger audience than it should.

Good stuff all round.

DVD EXTRAS
Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes (Extras Unpreviewed)

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