Definitely, Maybe

Rating: 4 of 5 ★★★★☆ 

Best romantic comedy I’ve seen in a long while. More romantic than comedy…endearing, and charming… There are two things that really work about this movie and it’s a good thing too because they are the core of the film.

1 – I like who these characters are.
I like Will, who is endearing and sweet and charming. I could see that young him in the flashbacks would become the man telling the story. I liked his wit and his humor that was sometimes awkward when he was younger but had matured and become effortless with his daughter. I liked his honesty as he told the story and the revelation that even though he has the advantage of hindsight there’s still things he doesn’t understand about his own story because he’s a guy. His daughter has to point them out to him, which is cute and clever. By the end you understand his honesty is the heart of the film.
And of course he would attract fun, witty, smart women. I liked April’s playfulness and how lovely and brilliant Summer was. There was never really anything I particularly liked about Emily.
And naturally he would raise a delightful, precocious daughter who is also honest and smart, though true to her age. I liked that she wasn’t jaded or too mature for her age as so many kids in film tend to be.
All of the characters were so well defined and so authentic and completely endearing (well, except Emily).

2 – Their relationships with each other.
I liked that the relationships are complicated and real and genuine.
Will and Maya were just fantastic! Their relationship is as wonderful as his relationship with his girlfriends.
I liked how he and April challenged each other, her playfulness and the way he responded to it, and how at ease they were with one another. They were so obviously right for one another even though they were different.
Summer and Will seemed like a grown up relationship and I liked how they settled into it; how at the hospital it was completely obvious that they belonged together and fit into one another’s lives.
Again, Emily was the one thing I didn’t love. There was so little development to their relationship that I believed it only because I believed him and he said he loved her and that was enough. But I never really liked them together, was never invested in it. Maybe that was intentional. Because he was disconnecting from her in the present she would be the one the audience connected with the least.

Interestingly enough the film achieves the dynamic created in the title; a sense of certainty coupled with the unexpected. There’s a huge tell in the movie, but the fun thing is that even with that it’s surprising. It sets you up to expect the wrong thing. You think that you’ve figured out who Maya’s mother is and then realize that’s not really what you were trying to figure out after all. The woman he married and the one he truly, deeply loved weren’t the same.

I did like that he changed all the names but hers. There’s something sweet about that.

And I also liked that as much as they’re having sex, there isn’t a lot of sex shown in the movie.

It deserves to make more money than it will and it should make Ryan Reynolds a whole new level of star, but it won’t make enough money to actually do that. It’s too bad, because it’s a good movie.

Writing:★★★★½ 
Characters:★★★★½ 
Performances:★★★★¼ 
Directing:★★★¼☆ 
Production:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Posted January 25, 2008 : Review, Ryan Reynolds / , ,