MONKEY REVIEW: Definitely Maybe

March 14, 2008

Intelligently done romantic comedy, written and directed by Adam Brooks, built around a father (Ryan Reynolds) agreeing to tell his daughter (Abigail Breslin) the story of how he met his mother, as the daughter believes it will help her understand why they are now divorcing. There is a catch, though: He will be changing names and rearranging some facts, and she will have to guess which person is her mother. The very phrase “romantic comedy” is anathema to a good number of would-be moviegoers, but Definitely Maybe has a degree of emotional depth and complexity not often seen in this genre, and features fine performances from Reynolds and Breslin, as well as Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher and Rachel Weisz as the women with whom he has his most significant relationships. There’s a sense of sadness and regret that permeates his story, and since he chooses to begin his story in 1992, when he’s an idealistic college intern volunteering for the Clinton campaign, it begins to resemble a sort of The Big Chill for Generation X. Fortunately, the movie’s ambition doesn’t exceed its grasp, and it insteads focuses on how his increasing political disillusion and his professional failures ends up thwarting his personal relationships, both platonic and romantic. Definitely Maybe may not necessarily be a great movie, but it is a very good one. It never surrenders to cuteness or easy sentimentality, and is frequently very funny. It’s a romantic comedy you won’t have to feel guilty about liking.


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


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