Weekend View : Definitely, Maybe (2008)
It seems that one recipe for romantic comedies is to have one leading character, man or woman, for us to be sympathetic to. Whether he’s brokenhearted by previous relationship or have a good relationship with someone but isn’t great enough. Take a look at Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle or Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack in Serendipity. Inevitable that every romantic comedy must have one likeable leading character and a great chemistry with his/her supposedly soul mate. But something’s a little bit missing from Definitely, Maybe.
I never really see Ryan Reynolds as the leading man in romantic comedy aside from The Proposal (2009), where he played with Sandra Bullock. In Definitely, Maybe (2008), he is Will Hayes, a father of adorable daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin). When Maya asks him about her mother and love of his life, Will is forced to tell and look back to his life a little bit before he moved to New York. He starts his career as a part of Bill Clinton’s campaign as the President. Along with pursuing his career, he met several women that might be Maya’s mother and could be his soul mate. Will experienced many relationships that could have been a great one but somehow ended up brokenhearted. But who is the real mother? Maya agreed to hear the story when Will said that he won’t tell their real names as he’s telling them.
Telling our own kid who’s their mother and the relationships in between reminded me of the TV series How I Met Your Mother, which could be inspired by, or maybe the inspiration of the movie. Only Definitely, Maybe isn’t as sentimental or gave much chuckle. A lot of resemblance of the lead character played by Ryan Reynolds and Josh Radnor. But there isn’t any much sympathy for Reynolds aside that he’s a hot single father working in advertising, looking after a bright young daughter. Women would just throw themselves at him, I mean who wouldn’t? In his real life, the man’s divorced to Scarlett Johannsen and now husband of Blake Lively. But enough the rambling
Abigail Breslin was still as adorable she was in Little Miss Sunshine (2006). But the other women entered his life were all gorgeous; Elizabeth Banks as Emily, his girlfriend from before he moved to NYC, and smart but intimidating Rachel Weisz as Summer. And last, Isla Fischer as April. From all, I loved Weisz performance. Summer is intelligently daring and beautiful, but her former boyfriend, the famous author could be the threat to Will. While Banks was okay as the good girl next door, she seems to be the best as the fierce and competitive girl like in 30 Rock or Our Idiot Brother. And Isla Fischer here is the first time I saw her as a pretty normal girl, not as perky in The Wedding Crasher, dramatic in The Great Gatsby and sloppy like in Confessions of a Shopaholic. But she’s the ultimate potential girl. Somewhere in the movie I wondered why Will and April never really together. Unfortunately, I’ve seen better chemistry.
Adam Brooks, the director, actually have written some great romantic comedies; Practical Magic, Wimbledon and French Kiss. Brooks isn’t listed to direct another one in the future, but I do think Definitely, Maybe could’ve been better. Maybe I’ve been influenced with HIMYM, but instead just trying out every potential relationship and let it be when it ends, how about a little more passion of finding the woman that could be his wife? Furthermore, I think Maya was the only one who actually cares. Yes, unfortunately, Ryan Reynolds maybe not the best leading man here. Perhaps he doesn’t need to worry because he is good looking. This movie might need a little more crisis or urgency in it. But there was one or more ‘Awww’ impression when I watched this movie. Meaning, some things in the movie actually quite sweet and touching. It was quite the flashback to see how Bill Clinton was elected and brought down by media of his cheating scandal. It somehow connected to Will’s life spirit. The rest of it, was more of curiosity to know who is the mother. In general, Definitely, Maybe is quite a good romantic comedy, but not the best.