Definitely, Maybe

By Francesca Rudkin

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Herald rating: * * *
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Rachel Weisz, Kevin Kline, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher
Director: Adam Brooks
Running Time: 112 mins
Rating: PG (sexual references)
Screening: SkyCity, Hoyts and Berkeley Cinemas
Verdict: Nice and light, and better than your average romantic comedy.

You would expect that a film produced by the makers of successful romantic comedies such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, and written and directed by the screenwriter of Bridget Jones's Diary and Wimbledon, would be an amusing and extremely watchable little flick. Not surprisingly, that's exactly what Definitely, Maybe is - a light-hearted slice of escapism.

Set in New York, Definitely, Maybe is an American version of a slightly quirky English romantic comedy, and while Hugh Grant is nowhere in sight, Ryan Reynolds (known mostly for his relationships with ex-fiancee Alanis Morissette and current squeeze Scarlett Johansson, and a TV sitcom called Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place) proves he's got the looks, the comedic ability and goofy awkwardness required to be a romantic leading man.

Reynolds is Will Hayes, a 30-something in the midst of a divorce, and father to 10-year-old Maya.

After a rather frighteningly frank sex education class at school, Maya is desperate for her father to tell her the story of how he and her mum fell in love. Will fobs Maya off with the old, "it's complicated" excuse, but Maya is persistent and he eventually agrees to tell the story. But he changes the names of the people in his story, so Maya has to guess which of her father's three old girlfriends is the woman he eventually married - and Maya's mother.

The film then flashes back to 1992 when cell phones were large bricks, grunge music was new and exciting, and Will was an idealistic young man working on the Clinton election campaign.

As Will relives these earlier years he recounts his romantic relationships with three women he dated - his college sweetheart, Emily (Banks), the sweet photocopy girl, April (Fisher), and the ambitious journalist, Summer (Weisz).

The film's set-up and flashbacks feel a little awkward, but thanks to the impressive and charming talent of Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) as Maya, Brooks gets away with it. It is too long, but luckily the characters are likeable and the actors easy to enjoy watching.

You've seen it all before but the mystery angle adds a small degree of unpredictability, so if there's nothing else you need to be doing then it's not a bad way to pass the time.

- NZ Herald

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