Monday, February 18, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

“DEFINITELY, MAYBE” (Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz & Isla Fisher)

Finally, a chick flick that doesn’t spend its entire running length bashing men! In fact, this is one of the best films of the c-flick genre ever made (In my humble male opinion) & leading the way as the biggest shock of all – Ryan Reynolds definitely shows some acting chops... well, maybe.
In fact, if I had to complain about any of the actors here, it would be little Abigail Breslin; & that’s only because she’s been touted as the ‘next’ Dakota Fanning – she’s a very good child actor, but not exactly a ‘natural’. But that’s nit-picking, which I really don’t want to do because I enjoyed watching this ‘realistic’ story play itself out even to the cutesy, less-than-bitter ending.
Why does it work? All the characters are likeable - & more importantly, all the characters are equally flawed (ergo; human)
The film opens with recently divorced William Hayes (Reynolds) picking up daughter Maya (Breslin) at school on the day they started teaching the kids sex-ed. So Maya wants to know how one of her classmates could be an ‘accident’ when his father had to knowingly put his... well,
you know how it works (I hope) Needless to say, it is the most humorous scene in the movie - & that’s another surprise – this isn’t a very funny ‘romantic comedy’ & yet it is still very appealing.
So dad winds up telling Maya how he met her mother – with a twist – since William was virtually ‘involved’ with 3 different women (in succession) he decides to play ‘guess which one turns out to be your mother’ with Maya. He changes their names & tells her about his college sweetheart, ‘Emily’ (Elizabeth Banks – the cute blonde that Steve Carrell wants to put his bike in her trunk in ’40 Year Old Virgin’) the red-haired copy girl ‘April’ who works with him during the Clinton campaign in ’92 (Isla Fisher – the screw-ball that falls for Vince Vaughn in ‘Wedding Crashers’) & the brainy ‘Summer’(Rachel Weisz) who initially is involved in a May/December romance with writer Hampton Roth (Kevin Kline in an impressive cameo role)
What could have easily been made as silly & slap-sticky as a guy tries to juggle 3 girlfriends at once, is instead a well-written story full of poignant, heartfelt moments of falling in love & breaking up. William makes mistakes along the way, & so do the women. There’s only one scene that doesn’t make sense – when William begins to propose to one of the women & she’s at first ecstatic to discover what he’s about to do – she then turns him down. Why would she get excited at the thought of him proposing if she didn’t want to marry him?
Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this ‘chick flick’ from start to finish. For proof that this isn’t your ordinary ‘all men are disgusting pigs’ c-f lick? – Robert Klein has a one line cameo that only guys will laugh at – those of you well into your 40’s or beyond will probably remember the bit. & to let you know how famous it is – Klein only has to say the line once.
Written & directed by a man (Adam Brooks) with nice co-male roles by Derek Luke & Adam Ferrara, “Definitely, Maybe” is a rare film – something women should definitely enjoy - & something men should be able to sit thru without squirming too much... maybe.

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