[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Definitely, Maybe

Definitely, an exceptional romantic comedy

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

February 19, 2008 -- Most romantic comedies made in Hollywood are mediocre to bad. Good ones are rare. Excellent ones are rarer still. Even rarer is an excellent romantic comedy with brains as well as beauty. Such a rare treat is “Definitely, Maybe,” a smart romantic comedy with clever dialog, attractive people, heart and a complex story with some twists and turns. On top of that, this film is relatively clean without the kind of raunchiness seen in “Knocked Up” or “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”

Ryan Reynolds of “Chaos Theory” stars as Will Hayes, father of a 10-year-old daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin of “Little Miss Sunshine”). Maya is bugging her father, in the midst of a divorce, for the story of how he met her mother. He agrees to tell her the story, but he insists on not using real names. Maya will have to guess which one of the characters in his story ends up being Maya's mother. Will keeps telling his daughter that relationships between adults are complicated. She begins to understand just how complicated they are by the time Will is finished telling his story.

The story begins in college with Will's college sweetheart, Emily (Elizabeth Banks of “Fred Claus”), his journey to New York to work on the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, a falling out with Emily and a dalliance with a couple of other women in New York. During the campaign, he meets the lovely and intriguing April (Isla Fisher of “The Lookout”) but the two don't get past the friendship stage. His romance with journalist Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz of “The Constant Gardner”) ends when she writes an exposé on a candidate being represented by his company. The fallout from the story costs the candidate the election and destroys the public relations firm owned by Will and his friend Russell T. McCormack (Derek Luke of “Lions for Lambs”). Through Summer, Will also meets the gonzo author Hampton Roth (Kevin Kline of “The Emperor's Club”).

Will and the several women in his life cross and criss cross paths so many times it is like a spinning roulette wheel. You don't know where it will stop. April has a theory about relationships. It isn't so much about chemistry as it is about timing. Through much of the story, Will's timing is just wrong. Maya begins to understand that love isn't as simple a matter as she thought it was. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, a technique that works well here, allowing a comparison of different potential mates. We see that Will and each of the three women he might be paired with each have their strengths and weaknesses. All of them are bright, beautiful people. Each person brings a lot to the table. There are no villains here and no easy choices either. In the end, April is right. It is all about timing. The story ends about where I thought it might, but there is a bonus, an epilog that happens in the present day. This time, the ending is just right. This film rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2008 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)