Saturday, 21 December 2013

Definitely, Maybe

Lowdown: A father traces the failure of his marriage through the history of his relationships.
What can be said inside the confines of the rom-com genre that has not been said before? Over the years, great minds in great Hollywood studios armed with great budgets have been struggling to offer answers. 2007’s Definitely, Maybe tries to apply some sort of originality through a collection of minor touches. First, it does not set out to tell us the tale of a happy, successful romance. Instead, it chronicles the story of how this one guy, Will (Ryan Reynolds) got into a situation where he and his wife are estranged.
Second, Definitely, Maybe tells its story in flashback form, allowing it to freely navigate the 4th dimension instead of the usual linear storytelling.
Third, the story is recounted to Will’s child, Maya (Abigail Breslin) as a countermeasure for her learning the realities of sexual intercourse at school and therefore asking questions concerning the intimacy between her parents.
And fourth, instead of a love triangle at the center of this romantic comedy we have ourselves a love pyramid: our guy Will at the top, with three female romantic interests. The first is Emily (Elizabeth Banks), the old love with whom Will breaks apart when he moves to New York for his political activism career (support for Bill Clinton’s early 90’s election campaign). Second is Summer (Rachel Weisz), to whom Will delivers a package from Emily that turns out to be a diary chronicling the two’s hot sexual adventures. And third is April (Isla Fisher), a girl Will meets during his campaign.
Which leads me to the fifth and last minor differentiator used by Definitely, Maybe to separate itself from the pack of rom-coms: us viewers are tasked with guessing which of these three love interests Will ends up unsuccessfully marrying.
One major area Definitely, Maybe does not stray from the too well beaten path is the ending. Although this movie claims to chronicle a relationship’s breakdown, it is anything but; in the best of Hollywood’s tradition, if you come in expecting anything but a happy ending then you must be high on some major drugs.
That is pretty much all I have to say about Definitely, Maybe. It’s an entertaining movie, in that mind numbing kind of a way; there is not much to criticize it with other than the usual issue with female roles being not much more than satellites for the central male character. Oh, and that total lack of anything in the way of substance.
Overall: Definitely, Maybe does its job by not pressing too many red buttons. This puts it somewhere between 2.5 and 3 crabs out of 5.

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