Definitely, Maybe (PG-13)

Comedy 112 February 14, 2008
By Robert Wilonsky
Sandwiched somewhere between the American Spirit commercials and the Clinton campaigning that make up Definitely, Maybe is a surprisingly rewarding romantic comedy. Imagine old-school Woody Allen starring that shit-eating smirker from Van Wilder, Ryan Reynolds. If this isn't exactly Annie Hall or Manhattan, the mere fact that it aspires to those heights is worth a celebration of some kind. The film is told almost entirely in flashback, as ad man Will (Reynolds) recounts for his daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), the story of how he met his now ex-wife and Maya's mother — who might be his Wisconsin college girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), the Xerox girl in Bill Clinton's '92 New York campaign HQ (Isla Fisher) or the would-be writer (Rachel Weisz) shacked up with a cranky prof (Kevin Kline). Over the course of a couple of hours, Will and these three bright, beautiful women keep crossing paths — as lovers, as disappointments, as what-coulda-beens and what-might-bes. Writer-director Adam Brooks, whose French Kiss screenplay was as tony and old-fashioned a romance as Hollywood has made in 20 years, ultimately grounds the movie in the up-and-down everyday. As sweet and silly as the film can get, ultimately, it just shrugs and says, "Do your best, expect the worst, and you'll muddle through." Which seems awfully … revolutionary?
Adam Brooks Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Greg Abbey, Liane Balaban, Marc Bonan Adam Brooks Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner Universal Pictures

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