I hate most rom-coms (um, romantic comedies-yeah) My house-mate loves them and put on Fool’s Gold recently. I gave it twenty minutes and could stomach no more. Most are bland, predictable and written for 11 year olds. The quirky cast of supporting characters, the lame physical comedy, the same upbeat strings on the soundtrack, the break-up, misunderstandings, new partners followed by jealousy, the dash for the airport. This genre is the most formulaic in all of Hollywood. The only films that can beat them for mindless entertainment would be anything starring a Van Damme or a Seagal. However, sometimes, we need good old fashioned mind numbing, don’t we? After a long day at work we can plonk ourselves in our fave chair, press play and expect happy endings and pretty people to wash over us for the next 90 minutes. I just try not to make a habit out of it. I will say though, I loved The Notebook (perhaps the only film that guys can admit they cried to) and adored Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset films. I didn’t expect much with this latest Ryan Reynolds vehicle, though he was in Blade: Trinity and was the forerunner for Wally West in The Flash film, so he’s got geek cred in my book.
The premise is this: Ryan is getting divorced from his daughter’s (Abigail Breslin) mother and tells her the story of the three most important romances in his life, leaving her to guess which one is her Mum, with the choices being Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks and my fellow Aussie, Isla Fisher. Well written and directed by Albert Brooks, the film gives you enough reasons to like each of the three female leads and also enough reason to want the final outcome to not be them. It’s a delicate balancing act with a few surprises thrown in. All the characters are fully developed, with intelligent engaging dialogue, rather than the usual fluff that spout forth from rom-com leads. Fisher is the highlight of the cast. She just can’t seem to turn off the cutesy charm no matter what role she’s in. The final scenes offer nice icing on the cake. I stayed through the whole film, so that’s high praise indeed. It only ventures toward typical territory of this genre in two early scenes involving slow clapping and rowdy singing, but it isn’t a comedy as such, more of a drama. The flashbacks will be a nice bonus for Gen Xers too, with familiar 90s staples such as brick mobile phones, Cobain and Clinton. Definitely, Maybe is a nice breath of fresh, minty air in a crowded shelf of feel-good movies.