Daily Chick Flick: Definitely, Maybe  

I'm beginning to wonder if chick flicks need to be divided into subsets. This is probably just my tendency to over think things at work again, but it raises some interesting questions nonetheless. I don't think that anyone will dispute the difference between a chick flick and a date movie, the latter having a little more of the buddy comedy element infused in it. I think 50 First Dates is probably a good example of a date movie. Then there's also the romantic comedy, a label that could be applied to certain chick flicks as well as certain date movies. This is starting to get complicated I know. I only continued pursuing this direction to make a point about the movie up for review today, Definitely, Maybe, which I think can be classified as a "bromantic comedy." Not that it was about a bromance or terribly funny, but it does swap the role of leading lady for that of a man and focus on his pursuit of romance.

The leading man in this case is Ryan Reynolds, a mid-thirties guy working at an ad agency in NYC. His 11 year old daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, is introduced just after we learn of his near-finalized divorce and he pimp walks through Manhattan to the tune of "Everyday People" by Sly & The Family Stone. Note that he's pimp walking out of happiness to see his daughter, not the impending divorce. Upon picking her up they start talking about sex and love, and before you know it's bedtime and she's pressing her Dad for the story -- the real story -- about how him and her mother met. After working her cute little girl charms (read: she freaks out yelling at him), he agrees to tell her the intertwined tale of the three significant relationships he had in the years leading up to his marrying her mother. The catch being that he was going to change all of their names so that she could suspend judgment by not knowing which of the women was her mother.

This set up happens fairly early in the movie, and I'd have to say it put me in a good place mentally to enjoy the rest of the film. Who doesn't like to have a story told from a different or interesting angle? It's especially refreshing when wading into chick flick-infested waters, because we all know what a formulaic trap they usually are:
  1. Two people fall for each other
  2. They are happy
  3. There is some kind of misunderstanding
  4. They break up
  5. They get back together
  6. The end
Pretty much any chick flick, or movie in general for that matter, is going to retain some of these elements, but again it's always great to find one that doesn't subscribe to the formula in total. After all, conflict is universal when it comes to movies, from Academy Award winners to the animated Barbie variety.

As Definitely, Maybe progresses, we are taken through a somewhat sordid tale of love and life through the eyes of Reynolds character. The three women are played by Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, and Isla Fisher, making him pretty much one of the luckiest bastards in the history of funny good-looking bastards. Although I'm not sure what the producers were smoking when they opted to take Weisz's English accent away from her character. Regardless, each of the women were presented in such a way that I found myself rooting for them all at different times, despite already knowing that whichever of the three ending up being "the one," it was still going to end in divorce.

In the end this movie felt like it was made up of something resembling real people, i.e., messed up, affected by life, seemingly incapable of making the right decision at times. As his encounters with these three women were threaded in and out of the timeline, it didn't come across as overly forced or unbelievable either. I mean, he's a good-looking guy, and it's not like he was dating the three of them concurrently or anything. The pace of the movie also worked for me; nothing about it felt dragged out or hurried. If I were going to wish for anything it would be a little more comedy from the supporting actors. Reynolds had several male friends over the course of the film, none of which ever seemed to serve much of a purpose. Then again I'm probably only looking for holes to poke in it to help me downplay just how much I really enjoyed this film.
I give it 1 and 1/2 pink tacos. It's undeniably a chick flick so I have to give it at least one taco, but it didn't come with most of the crap that gives the term "chick flick" negative connotations in the first place. The extra half taco is because the perfectly guy-digestible chick flick requires a minimum of one exposed tit or gratuitous explosion/decapitation.

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13 Reasons to Live

  • shine  
    May 5, 2009 at 6:37 AM

    I didn't hate this one either. Of course, Ryan Reynolds makes me sweat a little. In a good way. So that may have had something to do with it.

    Are you seeing any currently-in-the-theater movies for this project? My mother made me go see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past last night and it was scary bad. I'm always here to help.

  • Diane  
    May 5, 2009 at 6:44 AM

    Good to know there's a good chick flick out there!

    I second the question on Ghosts of girlfriends past. When did McConaughey take over from Hugh Grant as the romo go to guy?

  • hotpants™  
    May 5, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    I skimmed your detailed review because I have this at home to watch. I've heard good things. My husband watched this at the fire station with all of the guys. They all liked it. (Bunch of homos!)

  • Lindsey  
    May 5, 2009 at 7:50 AM

    Funny, I watched this one last night when I was running on my treadmill. I didn't think it was too bad either.

  • Shannon  
    May 5, 2009 at 8:08 AM

    I think Ryan Reynolds is great. Do you have Just Friends on your list?

  • Ashley  
    May 5, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    This is good because of Ryan Reynolds...although I didn't really buy him as a father here (Ryan can be too much of playboy for me to buy that).

    It's not up to par with My Best Friend's Wedding (that is the ULTIMATE chick flick, and it is goooooood), but this one is decent.

    Did I already suggest Bridget Jones' Diary? A classic.

  • Nicole  
    May 5, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    Never liked the look of this movie...

    Have you seen St. Trinians? I think it's a chick-flick, but it's bearable. It'd give your new everlasting gobstuffer a break.

  • Jesslyn  
    May 5, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    The only reason I'd see this movie is because Ryan Reynolds is in it (the same reason I watched Advernture Land).

    And I'd have to wear a bib because I'd be drooling on myself.

  • Kelly  
    May 5, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    This one sounds interesting. Ryan Reynolds is hot. My husband can look like him sometimes, so I like him.

  • Anna Liffen  
    May 6, 2009 at 5:49 AM

    I'm not actually THAT into chick flicks, but these reviews you write are so good I had to put you on my blogroll. ...and in spite of myself, this sounds like a film I'd probably enjoy!

  • Kelly  
    May 6, 2009 at 6:24 AM

    I loved this movie. And I'm not really sure what the plot was. When I say I'm not really sure, I mean I didn't really care.

    I was just checking out Ryan the whole time. yum.

    Can we get a post on how utterly creepy Abigail Breslin is as a person? Her characters, while abnormally intelligent at times, are somewhat normal... where as her as a person... completely creepy.

    Sorry... didn't mean to rip apart a little kid, but I think she's getting old enough to be kicked by the public a few times. Allow me to be one of the first.

  • ~E  
    May 6, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    HEY! I actually liked this movie. But I think it was because I can still picture Ryan Reynolds tied down and half naked in Blade III and so that mental image managed to carry me thru the rest of the film.

    That and Isla Fisher is freaking HOT!

  • jb  
    May 20, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    Jay I actually really liked this film alot. It wasn't so over the top and stupid but really down to earth. I also really like Ryan Reynolds. All in all this one is a keeper for sure. I'm happy you watched it.


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