Definitely, Maybe (2008) ***

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1hr 52min
Director: Adam Brooks
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin
Genre: Comedy
Language: English

Definitely, Definitely

In a Nutshell


Straight as an Arrow

Sound Quality

Easy to Hear

Who's That?

Few Main Characters

Naughty Words


Naked people




Yes, “romantic comedy” lives! Adam Brooks’ new film, “Definitely, Maybe” goes to the head of the class and receives an “A” for getting it right. It is a delicious treat for this Valentines season. The movie is about love, love, love. Ryan Reynolds plays the young and handsome Will Hayes who becomes romantically entwined with three young and beautiful women played by, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz.

The catch here is that Will has a ten year old daughter, Maya, played by the engaging Abigail Breslin from, “Little Miss Sunshine.” As the story unfolds we find that Maya wants to know every little thing about how her dad met mom, due to the fact they are about to divorce. The game is afoot as Will decides to tell Maya about the three loves of his life using fictitious names to protect the mother’s identity. In the end Maya will have to guess which of the three women her dad married. He will tell Maya how he met each of them and how their romances progressed and degressed. Therein lies the means for comedic situations to abound, and they do.

There is also a back story concerning the 1992 election of Bill Clinton. Will has arrived in New York from Madison, Wisconsin as an idealistic supporter working for the Democratic Party. This is where he meets April, played by Isla Fisher, the scene stealer from, “Wedding Crashers.” Ms. Fisher’s comedic talents are on display here. She is captivating in her idiosyncratic way as she slowly weaves her romantic web over Will. An atypical performance by Rachel Weisz, “Constant Gardener,” as Summer, energizes the film. Summer is a free spirit and it is this trait which charms Will. Ms. Weisz is refreshing and plays the role with a cavalier style. On the other hand, Elizabeth Banks who plays Emily is not at the top of her game here. Emily is Will’s college sweetheart as the story unfolds. It is she whom he leaves to go to New York, but not before they vow to be true. Well, you can guess how that turns out! An outstanding performance is on display here by the almost unrecognizable Kevin Kline as a rakish journalist, Hampton Roth who is also a love interest of Summer. Another fine characterization by Kline.

Oh yes, romance. It is certainly evident here in the setting of the film. Shot mostly in New York City, one scene after another charms and enchants us. There is a night scene in downtown Manhattan when Will and April ascend to the roof deck of an apartment building to get away from a noisy party. It is a moonlit evening in the spring and the city appears to be wrapping its arms around them as they share this dreamer’s moment. There are of course your Central Park on a Sunday afternoon scenes. But, wait, I love Central Park on a Sunday afternoon. The city is romanticized here as it was in “When Harry Met Sally,” “Manhattan,” and “You’ve Got Mail.” As cliché as it is, the cinematography is a major character in “Definitely, Maybe.”

Brooks who wrote “French Kiss” (starring Kline) and “Wimbledon,” refines his romantic comedy style here. In writing and directing this film he gives us a newfangled look at an age-old genre. He makes us want to be in love again, and we are with his film.

One cautionary note. There is a scene early in the film where Maya is in sex-ed class. There is some candid dialogue about sex. Have no fear though, the scene is handled adeptly and should be fine for young teens.

How it all turns out for Will, Maya and the three romances involves a bit of adventure, a bit of mystery and a lot of romance!

A former teacher of English Literature, Paul J. Cassese taught in the NYC school system for more than thirty years. Paul enjoyed taking the wonderful film courses of Richard Brown and Scott Siegel, and is excited about his new role as an online film reviewer. Going to the movies has been a passion of Paul’s since boyhood. Paul thanks his dad for passing that on to him.


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