While visiting his hometown during Christmas, a man comes face-to-face with his old high school crush whom he was best friends with -- a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer.
Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the "How To" beat for "Composure" magazine and is assigned to write an article on "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days." They meet in a bar shortly after the bet is made.
Dave is a married man with three kids and a loving wife, and Mitch is a single man who is at the prime of his sexual life. One fateful night while Mitch and Dave are peeing in a fountain, lightning strikes and they switch bodies.
Romantic comedy: Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad is in the midst of a divorce when his 10 year old daughter, Maya, starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love. Will's story begins in 1992, as a young, starry-eyed aspiring politician who moves to New York from Wisconsin in order to work on the Clinton campaign. For Maya, Will relives his past as a idealistic young man learning the ins and outs of big city politics, and recounts the history of his romantic relationships with three very different women. On the campaign, Will's best buddy is Russell McCormack. They not only have similar political aspirations, they share the same type of girl problems, too. Will hopelessly attempts a "PG" version of his story for his daughter ad changes the names so Maya has to guess who he finally married. Is her mother Will's college sweetheart, the dependable girl next-door Emily? Is she his longtime ...Written by
When Will first visits April in her apartment during the Bill Clinton 1992 New York primary campaign, April plays "In Spite Of Me" by Morphine (followed by Nirvana's "Come As You Are"). "In Spite Of Me" wasn't released until Morphine's September 1993 album Cure For Pain. See more »
The setup might feel cheap, it's an engaging, usually sincere romantic tale
There's not a lot of mystery in romantic comedies, aside from perhaps "who's the baby daddy?" which is coincidentally not too far off from the hook Adam Brooks uses in his film "Definitely, Maybe."
There's a comfort in the romantic comedy formula, in the predictable end of a tried romance. We derive a bit of pleasure as a romance plot drags us along the string of "will they or won't they?" even though we know in our hearts what will happen (because if it doesn't happen, our hearts will be broken and the movie will get bad-mouthed).
"Definitely, Maybe" does as good a job of any rom-com at doing just that. We are sucked into the story with a premise nearly identical to CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," in which young Maya (Abigail Breslin) presses her father, Will, (Ryan Reynolds) into telling the story of how he met her mom. Seeing as the couple is a pair of signatures away from a divorce, he's not thrilled at the prospect of reliving those moments, but for our entertainment, he indulges.
The catch, of course, is that the story involves multiple women, and Maya must guess which one turns out to be her mother. Thus begins a long story that begins in 1992, when young(er) Will sets out for New York City to work on the Clinton campaign and leaves his serious girlfriend, whom he refers to as Emily (Elizabeth Banks), behind.
The '90s American history backdrop definitely gives the film its own flavor. Brooks eventually tries to draw an analogy to the former president, but it's half-hearted. Nonetheless, Brooks uses the opportunity to take an amusing jab at President George W. Bush among other humorous moments of hindsight and it's a welcome aspect of the story.
On the job he meets the copy girl (Isla Fisher), April, one of the mother candidates. She's into rock music and edgier guys, and despite an attraction, things never seem to fall into place for them.
Then there's the woman referred to as Summer (Rachel Weisz), a sophisticated and confident aspiring journalist Will becomes particularly passionate about and eventually starts dating.
So will it be Bachelorette No. 1, 2 or 3? Brooks definitely spent some time crafting this story to constantly bounce back and forth between the women as Will encounters them at multiple points in his life, constantly casting doubt over each one. The three actresses are stellar as well, so it really helps that even if you pick side, you kind of like all the characters for different reasons.
Reynolds holds up well as a romantic lead. He's a rather passive participant in his own love life, which is a bit frustrating but endearing. You genuinely root for his happiness despite fully understanding just why his love life has been so flawed. The impact it has on Maya is also sweet in all its obvious nature. She becomes as engrossed in the story as we do, though with a child-like innocence. Eventually she realizes that love really is as complicated as they say.
The riddle doesn't last nearly as long as it could, but for a romantic comedy it lasts longer than most. At some point the characters have been so fleshed out and certain details put in play that you can start to put the pieces together and figure out exactly how it will end. To Brooks' credit, however, he made what will be seen as a popular choice.
"Definitely, Maybe" hits all over the rom-com spectrum if the left end represents fabrication and tons of cheese and the right is honesty, realism and poignancy. There's a rather cloying scene in which Will and April hang out on April's birthday after her boyfriend ditches her for a gig and the tension is forced and painful, but there are also some extremely normal relationship dynamics at play in Will and Summer's relationship.
The film does the balancing act of fantasy and reality quite well. If all rom-coms were brutally honest, we wouldn't see many of them if any off the indie circuit. "Definitely, Maybe" is pretty much mostly sincere, however, and it's mystery hook — though contrived — is sorta certainly the key to making it all work.
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