Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Definitely, Maybe, a review

I stumbled across this film while folding laundry, and Tonks came by and got sucked into it as well. Before it finished, we had to leave for an appointment, so we ordered it from Netflix.

Released in 2008, the movie stars Ryan Reynolds (a/k/a Mr. Scarlett Johannson), Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, Rachel Wiesz, and Abigail Breslin. Due to a school human sexuality lesson, Ryan Reynolds is compelled to explain to Abigail Breslin how he ended up marrying her mother, now that they are divorcing. He agrees to tell her, but insists on changing the names and making her guess which woman is Mom.

We go back in time to Reynolds' college days, when he was in love with Elizabeth Banks but left Madison for NYC to work on the 1992 Clinton campaign. There he met free spirited Isla Fisher and they became friends. Elizabeth comes to visit him, and he asks her to marry him, but she refuses and blurts out that she slept with his old room mate.

Time passes, and Reynolds goes to DC, then comes back to NY to start a campaign consulting firm. There, he runs into Elizabeth's old friend, played by Rachel Weisz, who was living with Kevin Kline--a cranky professor with a taste for younger girlfriends--but he dumped her. Reynolds ultimately falls in love with her, but the day he plans to propose, she shows him her magazine article revealing the skeleton in the closet of his candidate. The candidate has to withdraw, and the relationship ends.

Years pass, and eventually, Reynolds meets Elizabeth Banks, who is now living in NY. Turns out she's Abigail Breslin's mom, so the mystery is solved. However. . . Reynolds is still not happy, and Breslin prods him into going to see Isla Fisher again. Breslin has spotted that Fisher has been in love with Reynolds for a long time, and she engineers their reunion.

Slight, but pretty, fully of pretty people, not the least pretty of which is Ryan Reynolds. There is some definite fudging of time lines--at no time does the "present day" Reynolds look nearly old enough to have been 22 in 1992. He does convey a gentle naivete, which is how New Yorkers imagine people from the midwest to be. He remains a kindly, conservative, Democrat, who is in many ways a female fantasy of a Good Man, and Marriage Material.

The best part of the movie, however, is Abigail Breslin, who is the rare child actor who isn't childish. She remains truly believable and relatable, and when Reynolds tells her "you are my happy ending," I believed it. How could Reynolds and Banks failed, when their relationship brought about Breslin? If the proof is in the pudding. . .

Light fare, that arrived and departed in 2008 without my ever having even heard of it. Nice movie to match socks to, and Tonks pronounced it "cute." Can't argue with that.

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