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Vol. LXII, No. 8
 
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
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Cinema

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.


TELL ME A STORY AND I WILL GO TO BED: When confronted by his 11-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin, right) to tell her how he met and fell in love with her mother, Will (Ryan Reynolds) decides to make it an interesting exercise by describing the stories of the three great loves of his life and having Maya guess which one of the three women eventually became her mother.

Definitely, Maybe: Dad Shares Checkered Past With Daughter in Melodrama

Kam Williams

The midst of a divorce probably isn’t the best time for a father to share the intimate details of his messy love life with a pre-pubescent daughter. In fact, there might never be an appropriate moment for such a confession of one’s checkered past. But that doesn’t prevent Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) from doing exactly that with his 11-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) in Definitely, Maybe.

When he picks her up from school that day, after her curiosity has been whetted by her first sex education class, she greets him with “We need to talk,” demanding, “Tell me the story of how you and my mother met.” However, rather than restrict the ensuing narrative to his soon-to-be ex, he decides to reminisce about all three of his great romances, only changing their names to keep Maya intrigued and to have her guess which one of them was her mother.

The movie shifts back to Madison, Wisconsin in 1992 where Will is involved with Emily Jones (Elizabeth Banks), his college sweetheart. He soon leaves her in the care of his best friend Charlie (Daniel Eric Gold) in order to move to New York City for a few months to work on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Emily has asked Will to deliver a diary to her best friend, Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz), who is living on University Place in Greenwich Village together with a very open-minded Hampton Roth (Kevin Kline). Of course, Summer becomes interested in Will the day they meet, explaining that Hampton doesn’t mind.

To add to the mix, at Clinton’s campaign headquarters Will develops a crush on co-worker April Hoffman (Isla Fisher), who is apolitical and, of course, is already in a relationship with another man.

Needless to say, there’s quite a bit of coupling and uncoupling during the movie Definitely, Maybe, a melodrama written and directed by Adam Brooks. Brooks is best known for having adapted best sellers Practical Magic and Beloved to the big screen with scripts which were strikingly similar to each other.

Remember, this tawdry tale is being recounted for the benefit of an 11-year-old girl who occasionally interrupts her father to complain about his irresponsible behavior. Provided you can ignore the inappropriateness of that underlying aspect of the narrative, you might enjoy the unpredictable hi-jinks along the path to this film’s carefully-concealed resolution.

Excellent (3.5 stars) Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, smoking, and frank dialogue. Running time: 110 minutes. Studio: Universal Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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