Definitely, Maybe (2008)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: July 14, 2008
Director: Adam Brooks
Writer: Adam Brooks
Producers: Eric Fellner
Ryan Reynolds as Will
Isla Fisher as April
Rachel Weisz as Summer
When this film begins, a young daughter is confused about why her parents are getting divorced and asks her dad to tell her how he had originally met her mother. Instead of being straight-forward about it, the dad decides to turn this into a “love mystery”, by telling her three different bedtime stories, each of which involves a woman from his past, with whom he shared very deep feelings. He changes their names in the stories, so that the little girl could try and “guess” who her mom is. Jerk or good dad? You decide!
Romantic comedies have been trying to re-invent the wheel for years now, but the bottom line has always been to cast a couple of hot leads, slap them into a half-assed story that features them struggling to find love, then get love, then lose love…only to regain it again by the end of the film (generally featuring a mad dash toward that loved one). In the case of DEFINITELY, MAYBE, credit has to go to the filmmakers for coming up with a somewhat creative concept within the rom-com film genre (although this film can also be described as rom-drama, as the only real moments of humor are related to Ryan Reynolds’ unfunny pratfalls), which was to combine 3 differing love stories featuring a male lead and 3 female hotties, but they do so with the aid of plenty of contrivances, including an overly precocious 10-year old who apparently knows more about love and relationships than her dunderhead 30-something year old dad! I don’t mind cute kids with smarts in movies, but when the little kid seems more “together” than most of the adults in the picture, it just automatically turns me off (even though the very cute Abigail Breslin does another solid job here).

The film’s plotline also felt very contrived at various points, as everything and everyone just seemed to connect and disconnect at just the right times and places (oh, look at who he just ran into on the street!). That aside, if you can get past some of those “Gimme a break” moments, the film does put together some nice romantic sequences, especially if you’re a woman who appreciates such things. Even though I wasn’t entirely pulled into the film’s somewhat manufactured plotline, I did find myself engaged at several points, even getting a little verklempt every now and again – and I did really like the fact that as an audience-member, you’re never really aware of who the “right girl” is during all the flashbacks, hence increasing your interest in the story (at least until halfway through the movie). The lead character played by Ryan Reynolds was decent, but I can’t say that his backstory was all that interesting, especially since it involved Bill Clinton and the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal (yawn). Also, was there really a need to take a potshot at President Bush in the film? We all know the guy is a dunce…that’s too easy and uncalled for.

Out of the three lovely ladies vying to be the “one” in this film, the story featuring the lovely Isla Fisher was the one with the most sparks and chemistry, to the point that I was hoping that the film would have focused solely on them. Rachel Weisz and Elizabeth Banks were fine, but I didn’t really feel all that much energy between them and Reynolds, and I can’t say that their respective stories were all that interesting either. So while I do want to give the film kudos for trying something different and taking a chance on the standard rom-com formula, I don’t think they succeeded all the way, with a little too much artificiality and not enough genuine moments. Also, any fool could figure out who the “one” would be out of the three ladies about halfway through the movie, so even in that respect, the film wasn’t entirely successful. That said, it contains enough romance and originality for a looksie, especially if you’re already hooked up with someone and you guys are looking for something a little different in the genre. Not entirely successful, but worth a look. PS: Kudos to Kevin Kline for playing a great drunk!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting