‘Definitely, Maybe’ overcomes rough start, finishes strong
February 18, 2008
Ah, the season to be in love. Isn’t it grand? Well, some would say yes, others no. Will Hayes would be too confused about love to answer one way or the other.
Hayes, played by Ryan Reynolds in the perfect-for-Valentine’s-Day movie “Definitely, Maybe,” has one too many gorgeous women in his life to know which one is right for him. What makes this movie different from the other romantic comedies is the addition of Will’s 11-year-old daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin).
For some odd reason, the movie opens with Maya just learning about anatomy from a sex-ed class that wasn’t even discussed with the children’s parents. The jump from that to Maya wanting to know everything there is to know about her dad’s past relationships is a little rough.
Why does Maya want to know these details? She thinks that by figuring out how her mom and dad met, she’ll be able to make her dad see why he fell in love with her mother in the first place. Oh, did I mention that mom and dad are getting a divorce? Sorry, I must have forgot.
To make his love story interesting for Maya, Will decides to change the names of his previous loves to see if Maya can figure out which woman is her mother. Because his daughter is such a wide-eyed, curious little girl, she loves this idea.
Let the romance begin.
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First we’re introduced to Emily (Elizabeth Banks), Will’s college sweetheart; second is Summer (Oscar winner Rachel Weitz), a graduate student and budding writer; and third is April (Isla Fisher), the unpretentious, always amusing “copy girl.”
When Will makes the decision to leave Wisconsin, and Emily, to join future-president Bill Clinton’s campaign in New York, the movie leaves Emily behind in the dust almost as quickly as she was introduced.
Once in New York, though, a more complex story begins to unfold. We get to see more of Will’s struggle to become an important man on the campaign trail and we see the struggles he faces with the next stage of his love life.
When Will meets Summer, there’s an instant connection. There’s one problem though, she’s dating her older, wiser thesis professor, played by Kevin Kline in one of his most amusing, best-suited roles ever. There’s more to this story, but I have to keep you guessing, right?
Meanwhile, April works with Will on the campaign trail ” if you missed it earlier, she’s the “copy girl.” As these two become friends, the audience clearly sees the attraction they both refuse to admit to. That is, until it’s too late.
So, who is Maya’s mom? And who is the love of Will’s life? Are they the same woman? And can Maya figure it all out in time to save her parent’s marriage?
“Definitely, Maybe” clips along at a good pace while keeping its audience wondering who the mystery mother-to-be is. The movie jumps between scenes quickly but not so fast that the film loses depth. Enough time is given to each woman, and Will’s history with her, to make each a plausible candidate to be Maya’s mother.
Though it may be a chick flick, men will find it amusing, and a bevy of attractive women will help keep them interested in the story. So if you or your loved one is in the mood for a love story that’s not overly saccharine, this one should do the trick.