Pos­si­bly, pos­i­tive

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

DEF­I­NITELY, MAYBE Di­rected by Adam Brooks. Star­ring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Abi­gail Bres­lin, El­iz­a­beth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Kevin Kline 15A cert, gen re­lease, 111 min

THE rom­com is cur­rently in such a de­graded state that one feels like screech­ing for joy when any film that meets the de­scrip­tion fails to pro­voke fits of nausea. So hooray for Def­i­nitely, Maybe. It’s not a great film, but it’s car­ried off with sin­cer­ity and fea­tures ef­fort­lessly ami­able per­for­mances from most of its prin­ci­pal ac­tors. Ex­pect to cry the right sort of tears.

The pic­ture does, it is true, of­ten ask the viewer to ac­cept the madly im­plau­si­ble. We be­gin in the present day with Ryan Reynolds, a nice man re­cently sep­a­rated from his wife, pick­ing up his daugh­ter (it’s Abi­gail Bres­lin, of course) from school on the day her sex ed­u­ca­tion classes com­mence. Ea­ger to dis­tract her from em­bar­rass­ing ques­tions con­cern­ing damp bits, Ryan de­cides to tell the lit­tle imp the story of how he met her mother. Turn­ing the tale into a ro­man­tic mys­tery, he changes the names of his three great loves and in­vites the girl to work out which he ended up mar­ry­ing.

Par­don? What 11-year-old knows so lit­tle about her mother that she couldn’t im­me­di­ately pick her out from a line-up com­pris­ing a daffy free spirit (Isla Fisher), a top-flight jour­nal­ist (Rachel Weisz) and dad’s teenage sweet­heart (El­iz­a­beth Banks)?

Never mind. Though Banks is dis­ap­point­ingly anony­mous, Weisz and Fisher man­age to fash­ion fleshy per­son­al­i­ties out of the some­what thin di­a­logue, and Reynolds, whose char­ac­ter starts out work­ing for Bill Clin­ton’s first pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, has just the right baf­fled charm to carry such a weight­less con­fec­tion.

It comes as no sur­prise that Def­i­nitely, Maybe comes from Work­ing Ti­tle Films. Like the best of that com­pany’s work – Four Wed­dings, About a Boy – Adam Brooks’s film deftly skirts sen­ti­men­tal­ity with­out ever turn­ing prop­erly soppy.

Mind you, the aware­ness that events sur­round­ing the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion are now deemed fit for the nos­tal­gia treat­ment may pro­voke blub­bing in some re­luc­tantly mid­dle-aged view­ers. When did this stuff cease to fall un­der the cur­rent af­fairs re­mit?

Are you my mother? Reynolds flashes back to Weisz

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