Saturday, June 28, 2008
Definitely, Maybe **
Director: Adam Brooks
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin
Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz
Kevin Kline, Derek Luke
After learning about sex at school, 10 year old Maya (Breslin) begins to question her father, Will,(Reynolds) about his own experience before her mom.
Slightly surprised by this request Will comes up with the original idea to tell his daughter the story of his life, but changes the names of the women in order for her to guess which is her mom.
Flash back to 1992 when Will is working for Bill Clinton's campaign and the three mother candidates are: Emily (Banks), Will's college sweetheart who is having trouble following his pace, sexy erudite Summer (Weisz) who has a thing for a seasoned writer (Kline) but can't help liking Will and finally April (Fisher) a kooky, free spirit working as copygirl for the campaign.
While original in concept, the film lacks spirit in the execution and before long ends up feeling like the extension of a joke that wasn't so good to begin with.
Sometimes forgetting that it's supposed to feel like a love jigsaw, it tries to cover all the right bases and instead of focusing on something, goes for a "feel good" sense in every single way.
Nobody is dislikeable and the script manages to be condescending without ever feeling selfconscious.
Reynolds makes for a satisfying lead, even if his performance is fueled by inertia more than anything else, since he knows everyone can overact him here, which is why it's the girls who stay with you the most.
Banks' "all American" beauty has a sweet effervescent mood, while Weisz is sexy, intriguing and the most real of the characters.
But leaving the film you will probably have stronger impressions from Fisher who does her best Amy Adams impersonation to become the girl you root for the most and of course Breslin, who unlike other child actresses is able to keep a balance between being a child and a child thinking they can act like an adult, which helps her deliver a performance that goes from "staple cute kid" to fully formed character.
While it's true that revisiting our love histories is a double edged sword, "Definitely, Maybe" has the innocence none of its characters does and is able to remain hopeful amidst a world that constantly tries to remind you hope is practically gone.
Whatever you decide to make out of it, the one unforgivable thing the film does is try to treat you like Maya, when truth is even she knows best...