Definitely, Maybe follows ad executive Will (Ryan Reynolds) and his daughter Maya as he tells her the story of how he met her mother. After she learns about sex in school she becomes obsessed with knowing how her father fell in love with her mother as a process to understand why they are currently in the midst of a divorce. Told in a series of flashbacks, Will tells his daughter the story of how he and her mother met, but makes her guess which character in the story is her mother.
The lighthearted comedy/drama mostly stays rooted in the past as Will gets his start working on the Clinton Campaign in New York City, as they painstakingly remind us it’s the 90s, since it’s impossible to age down Ryan Reynolds in any discernible way. Starting with his college sweetheart, Emily, it follows the numerous women he dates and how they affected his life. His daughter is played by Abigail Breslin, who is incredibly adorable in this role. I wanted so much more of her, since she honestly might be the best part of this movie and her chemistry with Reynolds is really engaging and fun to watch.
Still, even with romantic comedy cheese spread as thick as a Sicilian slice of pizza, this movie still manages to have a lot of heart. Most of the heartwarming moments are delivered through Breslin and Reynolds and they’re interactions together. As she is the most important woman in his life (*cries*). Apart from that the actual plot has a lot of problems. One is a huge spoiler that aggravates me so much so I will rant about it after the recommendation. The other problem is more a movie trope that drives me crazy, but New York City is not three blocks wide. People don’t just run into each other at coffee shops all willy-nilly. Finding “the one” of anything in New York is impossible, so finding the one thing you’re looking for is a work of sheer script-writing convenience. Please make coincidences at least plausible.
Reynolds effortless onscreen charisma even when the character at its core is kind of a terrible person. At least he does go through a change, as he is so likeable with his daughter that his past history does feel like the past and he is far less selfish now than he was before. I’m assuming they were trying to make him less idyllic, since Reynolds is so attractive, but he really comes off annoyingly self-centered. His redemption is that he is a good father; even if probably wasn’t a good husband since he’s mid divorce. But all-in-all, it’s a pretty decent romantic comedy compared to the sludgepile that usually makes up the genre. It leans into tropes and cliché, but it at least tries a little to build interesting characters and form a new way to tell a basic story.
Amy’s Recommendation: 7/10
Okay SPOILER-HEAVY Rant, don’t read if you haven’t given this a watch.
Okay so in this thing there’s this bit about a book. April, one of his past flings, is looking for this inscribed edition of Jane Eyre that her father gave her before he died. Of course, since who doesn’t like coincidence, Will finds the it in a bookstore as he finally discovers his love for her. He goes over to give her the one thing she’s been searching for, FOR YEARS, and upon seeing she has a live-in boyfriend just leaves. He doesn’t even leave the book behind, he just walks out. He returns years later, after living his whole life and getting married and having an eleven year old daughter, he goes to rekindle his love for April and brings her the book. That he has selfishly kept for over ten years. She has been collecting inscribed Jane Eyre books for her entire life and he has kept the ONE she has been searching for, for over ten years. Sorry folks, that is insanity and it made me SO mad. Freaking mail it to her or SOMETHING. I would never be able to get past that and she does in like ten minutes. End of rant thanks for coming.