Definitely, Maybe

Posted February 14, 2008 in Film

The best romantic comedies admit that love ends in heartbreak. Whether it’s a bitter fight in a restaurant or a tearful hospital bed vigil, someone always ends up crying. In writer-director Adam Brooks’ intelligent romance, divorcing dad Will (everyman Ryan Reynolds) tells his daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) the story of how he met her mother—a saga of small, familiar misunderstandings and arguments and fractured hopes that spans three pseudonymous women and the Clinton administration. (Making active use of the period, the ’90s mini-kilts, khakis, and grunge-pop are perfect.) We’re caught between rooting for Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, and Isla Fisher—three different, flawed, and wonderful women—and the rueful knowledge that whoever slips his ring on his finger will decide to take it off anyways. And Brooks is too honest to force the couple to reconcile—though he does cave under the pressure of happy endings. The big question isn’t “Does love exist?” but “Does love last?” (Answer: not without superhuman effort), but the resigned philosophy shares the stage with crisp, sharp jokes and insightful moments of recognition that endear us to the perpetually lovelorn Will as he fumbles for hope despite Cupid’s cruel odds. (Amy Nicholson)



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