Romantic dramedies really can be hit or miss and depending on how you combine the humor with the seriousness determines the final outcome. In the recent film “Definitely, Maybe” what starts as a cutesy love story ends up becoming a drawn out bore fest.
Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) is getting over a divorce while trying to connect with his daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin). When Maya asks her father to tell her the story of how her parents met and fell in love he tells her a “mystery love story” involving his relationships with three different women. He starts with the tale of his college lover Emily (Elizabeth Banks) and moves on to his relationship with the smart reporter Summer (Rachel Weisz) before coming to the friend turned girlfriend that got away April (Isla Fisher). When hearing the story Maya has to figure out which woman is her mother and who Will truly loves.
The premise is fairly unique, that of a father telling his daughter how he met her mother without telling her flat out which woman it is. This allows the audience to guess along with Maya about who her mother is and who you want to be her mother. All the women are interesting and have their moments to shine. I found the most interesting lover to be Summer, from her unconventional relationship with the drunken writer Hampton Roth (Kevin Kline) to just her hilarious personality this character was the one I connected with the most. This film also has some great 90’s music since its set around the time of Clinton’s tenure as President so it was great to hear tunes from bands like Nirvana.
I did really want to like “Definitely, Maybe” but I left the theater hating it. For starters the movie is incredibly long winded. The movie is only an hour and forty-five minutes but it feels a lot longer, by the end I just wanted everything to end even if it was abrupt. What starts as a simple romantic comedy takes a very sharp turn into a straight sappy love story that just keeps dragging on to show Will falling into one hole after another. He makes so many wrong decisions by the end you’re just starting to think he should end up alone. It almost felt like the writers were just throwing in things to flesh out the story and it didn’t work. I also felt the way the women were spaced out was incredibly uneven. We spend hardly any time with Elizabeth Banks who appears in the beginning and doesn’t show up again until the end. The film constantly switches between Weisz and Fisher’s characters for a good while before going straight to following Fisher and then going back to Banks and Weisz. If they had given equal time to all the women instead of following one until the end of the relationship only to come back, it would have made it flow a lot better. It also didn’t help that the woman who ends up being Maya’s mother has the least amount of screen time and the reveal seems completely pointless by the end. I also didn’t like that the title of the film comes from a one-line moment in the movie that never gets mentioned again.
The acting in this is on par for the genre. Ryan Reynolds once again proves he’s good at playing the leading man, nothing new to report there. Rachel Weisz is probably the stand out in this film; every time she was onscreen I wanted to see more of her. The weakest links are Banks and Fisher as the first and last girlfriends respectively. Both are incredibly marginalized and not as interesting to follow and it’s a shame because both actresses tend to give great performances. Abigail Breslin wasn’t as annoying as most child stars but there were quite a few scenes where she tended to overact.
I have to give “Definitely, Maybe” a 2/5. I wanted to like it more but it drags on forever, the characters are not used to their advantage and everything just seems forced. I’d say wait for the DVD.