Ryan Reynolds slowly seems to be withdrawing from starring in brainless slapstick comedies; a move that is undoubtedly much appreciated. He already showed great skill in John August’s mystery thriller “The Nines,” and now he leads in Adam Brooks’ “Definitely, Maybe,” a serious comedy about a downhearted father who gets the opportunity to revisit his past and make up for his failures.
Reynolds jumps into the role of Will Hayes, a political consultant who agrees to tell his daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) the story of how he met her mother, but only under several conditions. He tells her about his past three relationships, changes all the names, and challenges her to figure out who of his former girlfriends could be her mom. For Maya, it’s the most exciting bed story she could ever imagine.
“Definitely, Maybe” is an absolutely delightful experience. It tells the captivating story of a young man whose only way to find his happiness is to go back in time and reevaluate the highs and lows of his past life. The film mostly focuses on Reynolds telling his story, which kicks off in 1992 when he started working as the toilet paper guy on the Clinton campaign. As the story unfolds, viewers get an extensive insight into his past relationships. Brooks’ strong screenwriting and his sense for telling coherent and exciting stories make the experience of watching all the more delicious.
The movie is never too cheesy or too saccharine, offering a horde of funny and emotional situations that are all too familiar to everybody who’s been in love before. In fact, the story is so engaging that moviegoers themselves will quickly start wondering: well who is the mother then? Is it the high school sweetheart? Or the scrupulous journalist? Or maybe the charming copygirl? Fans of solid romantic comedies will definitely enjoy the guessing.
As I mentioned earlier, Reynolds seems to be picking up more challenging and sophisticated roles. Here he is absolutely charming as womanizer and devoted father. In the roles of his ex-girlfriends, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz and Isla Fisher offer delightful performances. Fisher clearly has the most energy to spare, and her chemistry with Reynolds is simply delicious to observe. Acting honors also go to Kevin Kline, who stars as a drunken writer who adores seducing attractive freshmen.
Although the film is not intended to make its audience laugh every other minute, “Definitely, Maybe” is a charming comedy with a heartwarming story, subtle enough humor, and wonderful actors. It’s the perfect movie for the perfect date. No, definitely!
Review by Franck Tabouring