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Sweet Valentine's Gift with Definitely, Maybe

Published February 14, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures.
Definitely, Maybe Poster Definitely, Maybe
Here's another movie told in flashback. At least it's not the annoying kind where you see the end at the beginning and then just watch as things inevitably lead there. At least it's a narrative device with a mystery. It's How I Met Your Mother, but still.

Review: Definitely, Maybe

When Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds)' adorable daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) gets sex ed in school, he's forced to tell her the story of how she was born. However, he makes it a mystery, changing the names so neither she nor the audience will know which of the ladies ends up being her mother.

It's actually the old Princess Bride construction where Maya keeps interrupting the story with her observations. She makes adorably comments, but it's not particularly clever. Too easy really.

Will began as a political hopeful working on the Clinton campaign. The film is full of many political anachronisms, like praising Clinton's sensitivity towards women right before Gennifer Flowers comes on, or seeing a pre-candidacy George W. Bush interview and dismissing it. Yeah, we all know what happened. Don't rely on that.

They also rely on technological anachronism. Early in the story, a big gawky cell phone is punchline. As time passes, the cell phones get smaller and less funny.

However, these problems are harmless. The movie is sweet and it moves. Kevin Kline has some witty lines. There's a montage that actually returns back to one, and that's a first for me.

As the characters' lives wear on, they deal with real issues. Bravo for tackling career vs. love without copping out. You watch them grow up and that's worth a lot in a fluffy romantic comedy.

I do have a problem seeing parents try to dismiss their kids' questions with bullsh*t explanations. I'm not doubting the reality of it. I was a kid with parents myself. It just annoys me because it's disrespectful. You tell a kid that f*cking for fun is just rehearsing and that's bullsh*t. If they're living in a world with other people in it, they see people in love. You'd better be honest that sex for its own sake is okay. But the kid saying penis and vagina is cute.

He does ultimately teach his daughter how complicated relationships are. It works for the movie, but of course real life is actually as simple as she thought it was at first. Either people do something or they don't. It's all the excuses about personal drama that holds people back.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Universal Pictures.

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