Ryan Reynolds seems to be finally getting over his frat-boy image in the sparkling romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe.
Amusing and sweet in many respects, this new picture confidently directed and written by Adam Brooks (remember French Kiss), hones in on the frustrations of Reynolds' 30-something Manhattan dad, Will Hayes. Will has been served divorce papers at the outset, and the movie brings us back to the early Bill Clinton presidency.
The flashback structure is important as there is a fine rapport between Will and his sassy, inquisitive 10-year-old daughter Maya (the wonderful Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine and Signs).
Maya wants her dad to recount his love life before his marriage, notably how he met and fell in love with her mother. Will's version that he wants Maya to hear has to be more family-friendly, of course, and he does a little finagling so Maya has to figure out which of these women he actually married.
Will comes across awfully sympathetic and appealing, and Reynolds uses the character's vulnerability to his advantage. Besides looking good opposite the adorably precocious Breslin, he's fine opposite the other "older" ladies.
Elizabeth Banks is Will's childhood sweetie Emily, a free-spirited best friend in April is done nicely by the smoking Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz shines as aspiring journalist Summer. Besides these three very attractive actresses, Kevin Kline has a decent elongated cameo as a crotchety fellow close to Summer.
The moments of Maya interrupting Will's personal tale is often humorous besides much of the dialogue. This romancer definitely believes maybe there's something happy about going back without resorting to cheap, gratuitous gags and slapstick.