Will Hayes is asked to explain to his daughter how he fell in love with her mother. Will tells her about three women in his life and leaves it up to her to guess which is her mother.
Definitely, Maybe is one of a rare breed of romantic comedies that relates to men just as much as it does to women.
Directed by Adam Brooks, who previously had written the interesting Wimbledon, Definitely, Maybe tells the story of Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds), a father who is asked by his daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) to explain how me met her mother. The twist on the story is the question is asked on the eve of his divorce from her mother. The movie then takes a narrative path similar to that of The Princess Bride, as the focus switches from the story of Will’s encounters with three women to present time where Maya tries to figure out which of these women is her mother.
The movie has been called a mystery, a whodunit, which places the interest in who won Will’s heart. Ryan Reynolds portrays Will Hayes in a pitch perfect performance, having his heart broken on numerous occasions while never losing our support or seeming to be any less of a man. He is not a perfect character, as he falters and never seems to see opportunities sitting in front of him at times. As always, Reynolds takes his role and raises it to levels that I don’t think another actor could have.
Abigail Breslin seems to have worn out her welcome since her breakout in Little Miss Sunshine, but was solid in her performance here. I found her annoying at the start of the movie as she portrayed the bratty little kid a little too well, but once Will began his story, she slipped comfortably into the role of a concerned and loving daughter. Her role was a little too sappy at points, but she did everything you could hope for carrying her character through the movie.
The true success of the casting was the three women to portray the possible candidates for motherhood. Elizabeth Banks is the home town sweetheart, who Will left behind to achieve his goals in New York City. Isla Fisher is the feisty, rebellious girl Will meets at his job. Rachel Weisz is the journalist he meets, who seems to be a little too headstrong and idealistic. The storyline then stretches across a number of years as each of the three women slips in and out of his life until the fateful day he finally finds the girl he would marry.
The ending was wrapped up rather nicely with Will getting a happily-ever-after moment, not because his story changed the course his life was already leading, but because his daughter helped him discover that the girl of his dreams was still out there and he was just too stupid to realize it.
With so many romantic comedies focusing on the women who buy into them, it is refreshing to see one that travels a different path. Ryan Reynolds is usually someone guys will follow and he does not disappoint here, presenting us a story that is intelligent and doesn’t stoop to take the easy way out. It is a story that will keep you guessing up to the end and even if you are disappointed with the final choice Will made, there is a twist that will still leave you with a smile on your face.
There is a conversational commentary with Adam Brooks and Ryan Reynolds. Brooks gives lot of information about the movie while Reynolds quips in with one-liners and occasional insights of his own. There are a number of deleted scenes that don’t really fit in, although one detailing Will’s possible career goals might have been nice to see.
Creating a Romance is a short feature about the making of the movie. It is just a typical talking heads piece where everyone talks about how great everyone else was. The Changing Times of Definitely, Maybe is about how the filmmakers transitioned through the years the story took place.