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Review: Definitely, Maybe (2008)

Definitely, Maybe (2008) 

Directed by: Adam Brooks

Premise: While going through a divorce, a disillusioned middle-aged man (Ryan Reynolds) tells the story of his love life to his precocious eleven-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin).

What Works: Definitely, Maybe is a terrific film that mixes humor with dramatic romance and is able to get into the messy nuts and bolts of love and courtship. The story is set up intelligently with Reynolds’ character narrating his own story and acting it out in flashback. Aside from the frame narrative, the story does more than just tell one man’s romantic woes; Reynolds’ character begins as an idealistic employee on Bill Clinton’s initial presidential campaign and his love life and growth as a human being develop together and his idealism is shattered along with Clinton’s own romantic woes. In this way, Definitely, Maybe is able to link the character’s trouble with love with the rest of his life rather than isolating his romantic problems as though the rest of his existence was perfect. It’s a very real portrayal of love and life that is above and beyond the typical romantic comedy.

What Doesn’t: At the very end the film gets a little sappy as father and daughter come together. But the film’s very end comes just in time to save it from truly damaging the integrity of the film.

Bottom Line: Definitely, Maybe is a great romantic film. Like Love, Actually this film avoids cliché and mostly avoids sentimentality while getting at some of the real, complex, and often ignored issues behind love and romance in today’s world. 

Episode: #181 (March 9, 2008)