February 18, 2008

Maybe Good? Definitely Good.

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Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please. If you would be so kind as to turn your attention to the silver screen, Universal Pictures proudly presents How I Met Your Mother: The Full Length Feature in the form of Definitely, Maybe. Not just definitely, but absolutely and positively. No maybes or question about. No indecisiveness, awkward shifting and swaying of one’s emotions; it is. Perhaps, in fact it is feasible and credible that this is without a shadow of a doubt — weather permitting — unequivocally, indubitably, and without fail, a certainty — How I Met Your Mother.
We meet Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds), a 30 something year-old, political consultant recently served with divorce papers in the mail. When he goes to pick up his daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) from school he is bombarded with the haunting news that the school has decided to pontificate to these 11 year-olds the alarming, truthful, outlandish realities of sexual education in every facet. This newly acquired information sparks Maya’s interest and catalyzes the events to come, which is her passionate obsession with finding out who her true mother is. After her pestering (with wild exuberant references to the words penis and vagina), Will reluctantly sits her down and tells all, sparing no details. We are then taken on a journey of Will’s ravishing three loves, played by Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz and Isla Fisher.
As far as romantic comedies go Definitely, Maybe had all the right ingredients in just the right quantities. It had an excellent blend of humor and sentiment which touched the heart. Abigail Breslin was wonderful again, deciding to shed the pillow tucked under the shirt of pork dumpling Little Miss Sunshine, and acts like an angelic Chris Matthews of Hardball firing out questions. It was adorable how graphic technical terms seemed to flow out of her like poetry. It was like a machine gun unloading heavy fire as the sexual terminology just created a barrage of bullets carrying laughter you couldn’t dodge.
Ryan Reynolds might be making his way into more serious roles now, rather than his previous college based comedies like Van Wilder. Coming off The Nines (a 2007 film probably no one saw), he’s showing promise as a young actor. He was charismatic as Will Hayes without being big man on campus as he displayed a softer side; we could sympathize with him hoping he would find happiness, as Maya so greatly wished for her father. At times though, I thought he would miss a beat — at times it seemed inconceivable that he was a father. Often in the film, his boyish good looks are alluded to, sometimes dominating the screen.
The three ladies of his life all represent a different piece of the puzzle that completes him (his soul mates). Elizabeth Banks is the pretty college sweetheart with a girl next door sort of aura. Rachel Weisz is a journalist whose sophistication outlines her beauty. And Isla Fisher is a smart and witty best friend, whose charm flows through very graceful and articulate dialogue and who pushes Will to be the man he is destined to be. The interactions all three ladies have with Will are quite interesting to watch. All have good chemistry, all are unique and each contributes to the entertaining outflow that Definitely, Maybe generates.
My principal concern with Definitely, Maybe is the pace. It takes an awfully long time for Will to tell the story of how he met Maya’s mother. When he’s finally through and the mystery woman is revealed, you think it’s summing up and you’re ready to embrace the closing credits. Guess what? You’re wrong. The quest for Will’s happiness, to find the woman he was meant to be with, continues. This conclusion is necessary to emulate the typical romantic comedy framework, but it dragged on. That’s not to say that the adorable and eager, young Maya hoping for her father to be happy isn’t entertaining.
In Definitely, Maybe Adam Brooks, mastermind behind Bridget Jones, penned and directed a solid movie. It’s a feel-good movie delivering barrels of laughs and is very rewarding. It may be a little slow (and could probably have been told in about five minutes), but it boasts an attractive cast, who rise to the occasion, and show a lot of promise for greener pastures. It’s probably one of the better romantic comedies in recent memory, mimicking Love Actually. Hey, it beats Fool’s Gold any day of the week. I’d recommend it definitely. Maybe. (But really definitely.)