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It’s hard enough to find a movie that’s merely enjoyable in these first few months of the year (much less some kind of wonderful), and Definitely, Maybe is a refreshing change. The film is no Moonstruck or The Princess Bride, but it’s a notch above the typical romantic comedy.

When Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) picks up his 11-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) from school, he finds out she and her classmates have been treated to a sex-ed class at their Manhattan public school. Maya now has all kinds of questions for her dad, even the big one: She wants to know how he met her mother. Will turns it into a game, changing the names of the women he has dated and letting Maya figure out by the end of the story which of the three girls is her mom.

The experience of the movie is like a light stroll through the park on a sunny day in 72 degree-weather and a light October breeze. It’s casual enough to appreciate, funny enough to keep you satisfied, and down-to-earth enough to keep you from becoming cynical. The characters on the screen are people, not dumb idiots, the typical population of romantic comedies nowadays. The women zigzag in and out his life, keeping us on our toes about who is “in” and who is “out” as a possibility as the secret mother.

However, there are a handful of issues keeping Definitely, Maybe from reaching sublime awesomeness. One character in particular seems to wave her hand to get noticed as the right girl, and it makes us wonder why Will doesn’t get that she adores him. Eventually, we start to worry if there’s an end. The two-hour running-time drags a bit and feels a little long, leaving us a little worn toward the end.

But nonetheless, for most of the movie, we’re in Maya’s shoes, wondering, “So what’s going to happen next?” What’s it all about then, Alfie?

I know it’s a little too late to say this, but Definitely, Maybe is perfect Valentine’s Day fare. It’s sweet and charming, and, to paraphrase a quote from Clueless (which I never get tired of doing), “it gave me a toothache.” I found myself rooting for which girl Will eventually (presumably) finds happiness with. By the end, it’s more bittersweet than syrupy, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Rating: 7/10


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