Capone thinks DEFINITELY, MAYBE pretty much oughta be possibly on your assuredly certain to see list!
Hey ya'll. Capone in Chicago here.
Of all the films opening this holiday weekend, this one was the most surprising. What I'd assumed was going to be an empty-headed, silly comedy about a man and his difficulties with three women is actually charming, level-headed and (mostly) in the realm of believability. Framed as a story being told by a dad to his daughter about how her soon-to-be-divorced parents met and fell in love, DEFINITELY, MAYBE struck a strange and wonderful chord in me. This isn't a film about any type of magical, mystical interventions or wild coincidences or tremendously embarrassing and very public displays of affection. This is a fairly simple story about 15 years in one man's love life.
I've always kind of found Ryan Reynolds funny, even when he's trying too hard, but here, he's dialed back. He's not trying to be wacky or overly charming. His Will Hayes is just a normal, highly motivated guy who moves from Wisconsin to New York City in 1992 to work on the presidential campaign for Bill Clinton. He has a sweetie back home (Elizabeth Banks), who senses that this move will end their college love affair, and she's right. Will nurses his broken heart by hanging out with another woman working in the campaign office (the naturally radiant and sweet Isla Fisher). He also has a passionate love affair with a journalist (Rachel Weisz). Clearly the man doesn't need help from anyone meeting beautiful women. Will isn't any kind of playboy; he's not dating all three women (or even two) at the same time. There's just a very natural and unforced progression from one to the next (sometimes doubling back to one who left the picture for a while). One of the things the movie does beautifully is capture the way old friends actually do run into each other in New York. I lived their for a time at around the same time this film takes place, and I can't tell you the number of people I'd meet at a party one night, I'd run into six months later in a completely unexpected location dozens of blocks away. That doesn't happen in Chicago or any other place I've lived, but it's those by-chance encounters that can often change the direction of our lives.
Most of DEFINITELY, MAYBE is told in flashback. Will has resisted telling his young daughter Maya (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE's Abigail Breslin) about how he and her mother met, and turns it into a long story featuring these three women. Will changes the names of the women, and it's Maya's job is to figure out which one is her mother. It sounds contrived, I know, but for some reason it works. The mystery isn't nearly as interesting as the journey anyway. The other interesting aspect to the film is that there are no villains. Will is a genuinely nice guy whose only youthful vices were smoking and the occasional bender. And all three women have unique and wonderful qualities, although I think it's pretty clear who we're supposed to like just a little bit more than the others.
The only scenes I didn't think worked were those involving a cantankerous old writer character played by Kevin Kline. He's dating Rachel Weisz when we first meet her, but even after they break up, he still pops up to grind the plot to a halt. There were probably ways around including his character, but he's barely in the film enough to even come close to wrecking it.
Writer-director Adam Brooks is probably best known for being the screenwriter of such films as FRENCH KISS (featuring Kline in a much better role), the second BRIDGET JONES movie and THE INVISIBLE CIRCUS, which he also directed. DEFINITELY, MAYBE is his first truly great work as a director and one of his finest screenplays as well. He displays a confidence in his very normal characters, but doesn't mistake "normal" for ordinary. We're not just rooting for Will to connect with one true love; we want everyone in the film to be happy, and that's a tougher assignment. And as much as we're pretty sure we know where Will's life will go next once the film is over, there are a couple characters whose fate (at least as far as love is concerned) seems less certain. This is one of the few films in recent years that actually deserves to open on Valentine's Day. And for every man who is convinced he's going to be dragged to DEFINITELY, MAYBE over the weekend, don't fret; you'll enjoy it just as much as your companion.
I hope when I go to SXSW I get some more Stripper action!
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Feb. 15, 2008, 2:08 a.m. CST
and I am first and sexxy.
Feb. 15, 2008, 2:19 a.m. CST
I might go and see this.
Feb. 15, 2008, 2:25 a.m. CST
This is one of the most boring films I have seen in a long long time!!
Feb. 15, 2008, 7:09 a.m. CST
Fuck you all
Feb. 15, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST
I can't wait to see her teenage meltdown years. I am thinking probably bigger then Macaulay Culkin. Though she was in that religious movie, but something tells me that was a money thing. Anyone remember the creepy E! cam on her at the Oscars last year? She is like a younger Heather Matarazzo, but I don't think she'll come out as lucky as her, probably end up with the same sexual preference though.
Feb. 15, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST
I like that he is taking different and better acting gigs. Unlike Dane Cook who right now is probably his biggest competition (though far weaker an actor and comedian then Reynolds). Hopefully this movie will click and he'll start getting really good roles. Nines and The Amityville Horror were just weak movies and it wasn't his fault (I got most of the nines except the significance of the biting off of the green bracelet? Is that some Madonna/Mr. Demi Moore Kaballha reference?). Also does anyone else think that the singing comedian Steven Lynch is like Ryan Reynolds Richard Bachman? Those two look a lot a like, and have similar humor, and they both may be from Canada?
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:47 a.m. CST
Feb. 15, 2008, 12:54 p.m. CST
Classic stuff! When's that Blade Trinity spin-off movie coming out?
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