'Definately Maybe:' Maybe not
The newest Ryan Reynolds comedy, "Definately Maybe," had plenty of buzz going for it. The premise is an entertaining one, the cast is full of interesting people, and it's from the makers of some really good flicks, like "Love Actually" and the first "Bridget Jones's Diary," but it just doesn't nearly have the charm - and Reynolds doesn't have the leading man chops - to follow through on the promise.
In fact, it's all more than a bit uncomfortable.
The film begins with our disillusioned ad executive hero being served with final divorce papers. Bummer.
His daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin, of "Little Miss Sunshine"), is age 11 going on 50, and demands to know all about her father's past love affairs and what went wrong with his marriage.
Ewwww, dude. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want to hear a grown man discussing his sex life or explaining the concept of a threesome, with a pre-teen girl. Or to hear a little girl talking about people turning to suicide after failed romances.
Reynolds tells his movie daughter about how he has been with three different women, changing the names, and the daughter will have to go ahead and figure out the "mystery" - which of them was her mother. She asks, "What's the male word for slut?"
I really don't think this messed-up version of a bedtime story is all that funny.
Part if the film is set in the Bill Clinton campaign, both to capture the heady period in time, and apparently, in order to recycle old sex scandal jokes. It feels stale.
If the plot sounds suspiciously like the original premise of the TV show "How I Met Your Mother," it is.
The story takes a while to get going - there isn't much exciting until the ex's come into play. Much of the film is told in the form of flashbacks - though the flashes travel only as far as the 1990s. It tries to capture the seldom-explored nostalgic view that men have for their ex-girlfriends, with some sensitivity.
Reynolds, though, has really never stopped being smugly annoying since "Van Wilder" - there is just something about him that is hard to warm to. And the pushy daughter isn't a lot better. Unless you think it's just hilarious to hear a bratty child screenching "penis, vagina."
The only thing that saves this flick at all is the trio of lovely and talented actresses who play Reynold's past love interests - all ending in disaster. Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher and Rachel Weisz bring much needed charm and humor to the story. Fisher, especially manages to show both a manic personality and a bit of underlying sadness. In fact, she nearly steals the show as completely as she did in "Wedding Crashers."
In a bit role, Kevin Kline brings a touch of depth as an alcoholic writer having an affair with one of the ladies.
It was an interesting idea, that somehow doesn't quite pan out. Maybe it is appropriate that it ties to the Clinton Administration, as it compromises its great promise in nearly the same way.
* "Definately Maybe" opening this week in Storm Lake. Rated PG-13 for drugs and sex. Our Score: 2 stars out of 5.