Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Clips: DEFINITELY, MAYBE Film Review

Republished with permission from Creative Screenwriting:

How I Didn't Meet Your Mother
Definitely, Maybe

Adam Brooks

On the eve of signing his divorce papers, Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) tells his heartbroken, precocious 10-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) the story of Mom and Dad, but he changes the names of the characters (including Rachel Weisz as a provocative journalist and Elizabeth Banks as Will's college sweetheart) so that Maya won't know which one is her mother. Definitely, Maybe suffers from the same script idiosyncrasies as the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother: absurdly inappropriate subject matter for a kid (Dad's sex life and pre-Mom relationships in detail), tangential plots, and a scene or two in which the narrator isn't present and couldn't know what occurred. When April (Isla Fisher), "the best friend who wants to be the girlfriend" (Maya's words), interacts with Will, the story is engaging and genuinely tearjerking; their behavior and dialogue reflect the awkward, brilliant, and occasionally cruel cadences that two people in love realistically draw out of one another. Subplots involving Will's youthful idealism turned political disillusionment and April's search for a particular copy of Jane Eyre are solid as well. Still, no matter how articulate, mature, selfless, and well-adjusted Maya is, no kid would enjoy rooting against Mom, realizing Dad may have been pining for a non-Mom all these years, or discovering Mom might be a cheater. While the framing device is innovative, the fact that Will is actually telling these things to Maya and she's delighted to act on the information makes for a strange, dubious bedtime story.
- Sarah Skilton

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