Definitely, Maybe: Creative '90s Nostalgia Or Bland '08 Romantic Comedy?

Illustration for article titled iDefinitely, Maybe/i: Creative 90s Nostalgia Or Bland 08 Romantic Comedy?

The newest romantic dramedy Definitely, Maybe may have enough Gen-X references to make fans of I Love the '90s happy — a Clinton-staffer making a remark about Clinton "getting" women? How ironic! — but not film critics. The film, about Manhattan ad man (Ryan Reynolds) who tells his daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), the stories of his three major loves and leaves her to guess which one is her mother, is getting mixed reviews. Some find the film bland, others entertaining, but all agree that it's just too damn long. Reviews, after the jump.

Definitely Good:
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic:

So it'll be cute, sweet, occasionally funny and lead to a predictably happy ending, right? Wrong. "Definitely, Maybe" is definitely a cut above your standard-issue genre fare, maybe way above. Which doesn't mean it's not cute and sweet. But writer-director Adam Brooks gives the movie some bite, too, enough to keep it from being cloying.


Definitely, Meh:
Mary Elizabeth Williams,

"Definitely, Maybe" isn't a particularly good movie. It's hard to make either romance or comedy out of relationship wreckage, not to mention career ennui, and the pace is often meandering and sulky. The movie is mostly a jumble of missed connections and regrets, and, despite Maya's pronouncement that her dad sounds like a "slut," very little intimacy.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times:

With a cast this engaging, "Definitely, Maybe" should be home free, but it isn't. As noted, it is more contrived than it ought to be and it also doesn't completely trust its warm moments. The film instead insists that its characters fall back on glib one-liners and slick situations that are not the way to anyone's heart.


Claudia Puig, USA Today:

Though the structure occasionally strains and Ryan Reynolds is not the most charismatic of actors, it is a consistently watchable movie that avoids the treacly and clichéd elements of many romantic comedies. It could use some editing toward the conclusion, but it's generally enjoyable, amusing and more sophisticated than most films in this genre.


Definitely Bad:
Paul Arendt, BBC:

"Definitely, Maybe" has two problems (apart from that stupid title, which we'll just skip over). Firstly, it's a good twenty minutes too long for such fluff, and second it's hard to care very much about Will's troubles, since he comes across as the guy who will always get the gorgeous girl at some point, possibly all three. Breslin's cutie-pie daughter quickly becomes the real heart of the story, but that's no bad thing, since she's the one with the most at stake.


Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal:

Everything feels derivative and nothing rings true — it's "The Way We Weren't." This is a movie that runs, wheezily, on the borrowed power of cultural icons: Kurt Cobain on the sound track, one of Will's girlfriends singing the lovely old Gershwin ballad "I've Got A Crush On You," an all-too-predictable plot device involving "Jane Eyre." "Definitely, Maybe" won't benefit Obama, but it can't be good for the Clintons, and there's no maybe about its standing as romantic comedy — definitely bad.


Arizona Republic
LA Times
USA Today
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Wait wait wait wait. WHAT? She has to GUESS which one is her mother? Isn't this psychological torture?!