Friday, February 22, 2008

Definitely, Maybe Review

Adam Brooks' Definitely, Maybe is one of the best romantic comedies in recent years.

I might have gone into the theatre for this flick expecting too much. I had seen the trailer a few times, along with some TV spots, and I had the feeling it was going to be something surprising. The previews gave the impression of a more laid back and sophisticated romantic film and I was all aboard and ready to watch. Well, I wasn't disappointed. Definitely, Maybe is a decent film in a struggling genre that excels simply because it doesn't make those fatal mistakes other romantic comedies often resort to.

The film stars the charismatic Ryan Reynolds (Smokin' Aces, Van Wilder) as William Hayes. Will has struggled with love his whole life and is on the end of an impending divorce. With his 11-year old daughter's interest piqued on the topic of love Will must explain his pending split with his wife along with his failed past relationships.

Definitely, Maybe is told in your traditional flashback storytelling format that catches up to itself a third of the way through the film. The jumps between the past and present day are very rudimentary but that's one of the things that makes the film work, it's simplicity. It doesn't try to be laugh-out-loud funny nor does it attempt to transform itself into a high-strung drama. It's just a simple romantic comedy.

What holds the film together and pushes it forward are the tremendous performances. Ryan Reynolds absolutely nails his character and turns out a great rendering of his character. He's witty, as expected, but also very fragile and easily shaken. His three love interests are played by Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and the amazing Rachel Weisz. All three share a great chemistry with Reynolds and it's a treat to watch as they play off of each other throughout the film. Kevin Kline also has a small role in the film but manages to hilariously steal every scene he's in. Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) plays her usual role of a child more mature than her age and does a decent job.

One complaint I do have about the film is how it bounces around quite a bit during its 112 minute duration. It is constantly changing gears and adjusting pace which keeps things fresh but also makes the film feel like it's dragging. A lot of this can be credited to the 3 seperate love stories. Every time there's a jump from one to the other it feels like a reset and momentarily takes you out of the film. This isn't a major problem in the film but hinders the view from total immersion in the experience.

Definitely, Maybe
is one of the best romantic comedies I've seen in recent years. It's not terribly original but manages to keep itself simple and grounded. It's a film with heart and tells the story of what feel like real people, not archetypes like in so many other romantic comedies. In a genre that often insults its viewers and feels cheap, Definitely, Maybe is a sigh of relief.

One Sentence Review: A very well-acted romantic comedy that doesn't fall into the usual traps of the genre.


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eddie said...


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Larry_Chimp_Man said...

Hey Eddie. Thanks for the group invite, I'll check it out. I think you're giving Digg a bad rap though, it's a great site. Sure, my stories aren't getting too many diggs but I am getting upwards of 50 hits sent my way from digg per day. I do admit that it's a tough site to break the front page of though.

Thanks for checking out MediaZEALOT. I'll take a peek at your Google Group and see what it's all about.


Medaholic said...

I definetely agree with you on the 'choppiness' of the movie! I really didn't like the going-back-and-forth feeling near the end of the movie. I also think that they could've done a much better job right when the mother is revealed. It just didn't feel quite right.

Larry_Chimp_Man said...

Thanks for your comments Medaholic. What I felt made the choppiness of the mother reveal so apparent was that *spoilers* it didn't end quest for Will's love. We want the mother to be the character Will ends with simply because it'll be the "happy ending" when in reality it can't work out that way.

It's tough keeping the flow going in a film with so many different branches and timelines.


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