2008 - United States - 112 minutes
Director and Writer - Adam Brooks
My Rating - 5 of 5 Stars
This turned out to be a surprisingly good little romance with touches of humor. I must admit that I wasn't expecting much when I sat down to watch this film, but it turned out to be a total viewing pleasure for me. One of the reasons for my low expectations is that I had just watched Chaos Theory in which Ryan Reynolds plays the role of a family man whose life is turned upside down. In fact both films start the same why in which an older, wiser Ryan tells the story in a series of flashbacks. From there on, they couldn't be farther apart. Whereas Chaos Theory is a mess of hysteric scenes and overacting, Definitely, Maybe is a believable tale with a big, big heart.
The film begins with Will Hayes (Reynolds) contemplating his divorce papers saying to himself that he never expected to be at such a place in his life. Not only is he getting a divorce, he is a successful advertising man - a career path he never intended for himself. The great joy in his current life is the time he gets to spend with his daughter, Maya.
There is a very humorous scene early in the film when Will goes to pick up Maya at school for an overnight visit. It seems the children have been given an introductory sex education lesson and there appears to be chaos and disorder caused by the first realizations of the facts of life. That evening, Maya, who is no slouch in the brains and maturity department, wants to know the story of her parents' romance and marriage. Will decides to tell her the story of the three women in his life that had influenced him the most, but he does not disclose to Maya or the audience which is Maya's mother.
Using this premise, we are treated to a look at the life and romances of an interesting and very likable man. The tale starts with Will leaving his college sweetheart to go to New York City and work for the Clinton campaign in 1990. As the story progresses, we see Will maturing and changing from an idealistic young man to a somewhat wearied and discouraged citizen of the Clinton era. Along the way, he develops relationships with three extraordinary women - one of whom would become his wife and Maya's mother.
I have read several reviews that do not praise Ryan Reynolds for his portrayal of Will, but I disagree. Reynolds is a suitable actor, and this part of Will might have been designed for him. He shows us the wide-eyed innocence of a young man first delving into the mire of politics and is then able to show that same young man matured and much wiser of the world. His performance is very good.
Maya is played by Abigail Breslin who at a tender age is an excellent actress. Maya's character is extremely precocious and asks some very adult questions for her age, but she is still a little girl at heart. Breslin give the viewer a perfect Maya. I wonder if she will continue to be the consummate actress into her adulthood. Hers is definitely a career to follow.
I've stated in previous reviews that I am a sap for tenderhearted movies such as Definitely, Maybe, so I may be biased in giving it five stars, but five stars it is. If you, also, enjoy a film with a heart, give this one a watch.
June 29, 2008