An underrated comedic actor, Ryan Reynolds livened up several otherwise iffy pictures with his cynical, lightly sarcastic style. In the unexpected territory of what could have otherwise been a sappy romantic comedy, Reynolds and his rather acidic, snappy style manage to make "Definitely, Maybe" one of the more entertaining pictures in the genre in quite a while.
The film opens with Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) leaving his office in an ad company and heading through the streets of New York City to pick up his daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin). That night, she asks for a bedtime story - the story of how he met her mother, who he's recently become divorced from. There are a few different women in the story, and one of them could be her mother. The first one is Emily (Elizabeth Banks), who Will met in 1992 in Wisconsin and who he left to head to New York City to help out on Clinton's campaign.
There's a pair of additional women who enter his life, starting with the wild Summer (Rachel Weisz), who's Emily former friend (and who shared more than friendship with her) and who's having an affair with famed writer Hampton Roth (Kevin Kline). Also crossing paths with Will is the sunny April (Isla Fisher), who's very sweet, but also presents her case squarely against marriage in general.
The film occasionally bounces back to present day as Maya and Will discuss the story and the audience is left to decide which of the women could have been the mother. It's sort of "How I Met Your Mother: The Movie", only not with quite the same level of awesomeness. However, that's not to say that "Definitely, Maybe" isn't pretty good as romantic comedies - a genre I've often disliked - go. There's a few nice twists, the movie resists all temptations to get sappy and Reynolds both offers a good performance and has fine chemistry with Fisher and Weisz. Breslin is also especially good in a supporting effort, as well.
Still, there's a few downsides, such as the fact that, while Weisz, Banks and Fisher offer vibrant, enjoyable performances, their characters (Banks especially) feel a tad underwritten. Not enough to sink the movie by any means and their performances are good, but there is the sense that there's just not quite enough to these characters. The movie's also a little on the long side; while it never wore out its welcome, the movie does get to the point towards the end where my interest in how the story would be resolved to fade. The picture does, however, end on a very nice note. Overall, that's what this film is - it's really...nice. It's not an outstanding film, but it's a moderately enjoyable date nite feature.
VIDEO: "Definitely, Maybe" is presented by Universal in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality remained satisfactory throughout the show - while image quality never truly faltered, it never really shined, either. Sharpness and detail were just fine, as the picture looked reasonably well-defined, as while never terribly soft, the picture never looked particularly crisp (and the softness did seem a tad inconsistent.)
Some minor edge enhancement was spotted at times, as was a few traces of pixelation. However, on a positive note the print appeared pristine and flesh tones looked spot-on. Colors also looked just fine, as well, as while the picture had a cooler color palette, colors did look accurately and crisply presented. Overall, this presentation simply fell squarely into average territory.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation does perk up a bit for the songs on the soundtrack, as the rear speakers provide some very pleasing reinforcement for the tunes. However, aside from the tunes, the sound mix otherwise folds up to the front, remaining a straightforward romantic comedy mix. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and clear, full-sounding tunes.
EXTRAS: A commentary from director Adam Brooks and actor Ryan Reynolds, "The Changing Times of Definitely, Maybe" featurette, deleted scenes and "Creating a Romance" featurette.
Final Thoughts: With fine performances and a sweet, enjoyable story, "Definitely, Maybe" never quite reaches greatness, but the movie makes for a very pleasant date night flick. The DVD offers satisfactory audio/video quality, as well as a nice helping of supplemental fare.
The Film B