It’s very rare that you’ll find a romantic comedy/drama that doesn’t completely become a cliche of the genre. Too often directors take advantage of the low expectations and simply plug in popular stars. They’ll rarely focus on the story and how to make it good, for both men and women. 90% of these types of films are geared towards the female audience and men mostly tag along for the ride, but every once in a while a director like Adam Brooks comes along and makes Definitely, Maybe; a film that works for everyone, because of its universal tale.
Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) is in the middle of a divorce. He’s a father who’s stuck in the rut of life. His young daughter asks him to explain the reasons behind his divorce and what lead to that very moment. So, he outlines his life, from his first love to his latest.
There are a lot of cute and funny moments that will surely grab the ladies attention, but there’s also enough of a heartwarming story that’ll interest guys too. I’m one of the few men that actually enjoys an occasional romantic film, even if it’s littered with cliches and spotty acting, because sometimes I just like a pick me up, but I really love it when a director fully utilizes the good of the genre and tells a compelling tale.
Definitely, Maybe is a good film because of director Adam Brooks and how he successfully balances all three relationships in the film, with enough variety to set them apart, but also enough tight focus to keep the story’s point clear.
Ryan Reynolds is great as the leading man. He doesn’t play is usual dickish self; instead he’s a funny and caring father. He’s also kind of lovesick, because the past couple relationships didn’t end exactly the way he wanted and his daughter sees that. His daughter is played by Abigail Breslin and she, like Reynolds, fits her character perfectly. They both have that awkward sense of hope towards a brighter ending, despite the story’s several damp curve-balls.
What I really adored about Definitely, Maybe was its honesty. It does have a happy ending, but it gets there in time, with more than one downer. It’s not afraid to show you the ugly side of love and at the same time it still works as a light drama. Nothing gets too serious to bring the mood down, but it’s not all happy go lucky like most films of the genre. You get to experience pretty much every angle or every type of relationship a young guy can get himself into and it feels so refreshing to watch.
Universal’s 1080p video transfer brings New York to life in a different light. Colors are a lot softer here than other NYC centric films. Everything sort of has a warm or settled look to it, which never comprises the detail or clarity. The film is still fairly new, so it’s no surprise that it looks this good.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is your basic level of balance for a romantic comedy. Dialogue takes center stage in the front and the occasional taxi cab comes buzzing by in the back. I didn’t notice too much activity to warrant turning the speakers up on full-blast, but overall it’s still a quality track with everything lined up in order.
The special features are short, sweet, but they get to the point. I’m not sure if I would have liked too much more for a film like this, but it’s nice to see the cast’s goals and how they planned on accomplishing them. There are also a few deleted scenes to look over. Here’s a full list below:
- Deleted Scenes (SD)
- Creating a Romance (HD)
- The Changing Times of Definitely, Maybe (HD)
- Audio Commentary with director Adam Brooks and star Ryan Reynolds
I don’t really recall Definitely, Maybe making a big impact when it was initially released, but I really wish that it would have. I didn’t see it in theaters, but I did catch it on video shortly after release. I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed the film. It’s nothing that’s going to change the genre or really push its stars, but its living proof that if you have the right people involved you can in fact make a romantic comedy that will appeal to everyone. It’s sort of a coming-of-age story, mixed with a trifecta of love and a caring relationship between a father and his daughter.
It outlines everything I love about the genre and it shows stuff that I wish we’d see more of. They just don’t make films like Definitely, Maybe all that much anymore and it’s a sad thing to see.
The Blu-Ray is another impressive catalog release from Universal. The film has a softer look to it, but it really matches the tone and vibrancy of the script. The audio is a little more revealing, but these kinds of films don’t really beg for a 5.1 audio system to be played on. The special features are light and fun to watch, but they never get too in-depth, which is what I prefer for this genre. The disc is cheap enough that all fans should buy and those on the fence should just give it a chance, because you’ll probably enjoy the feeling the film leaves you with.
Definitely, Maybe is a memorable romantic comedy because of its ability to tell the truth and never become too cliche or overbearing. It's kind and warm and exactly the type of movie that deserves your attention if you're a fan of the genre.