Definitely, Maybe

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:42 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Definitely, Maybe
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Kevin Kline
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: Nope, most of the story is about love and romance, so unless you want them saying “penis” a lot, get a sitter.
Date Movie: Umm, duh?
Gratuitous Sex: Some kissing and rolling around.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Quite a few.
Memorable Scene: I won’t ruin it, but it made me weepy.
Memorable Quote: Maya: “I can’t believe she rehearsed with Charlie!”
Directed By: Adam Brooks

I am such a puss. I’m sitting there watching “Definitely, Maybe,” and the touching scene is telegraphed and totally obvious, yet there I was, getting a little weepy. Part of the problem I have seeing movies is, for me, foreshadowing is usually second nature, and I try not to let it influence my review, but damn, it almost sucks worse when you know what’s coming, you’ve already prepared for it in your head with “Oh yea, he’s gonna” do this, the moment comes, and you get weepy anyway. Like I said, I’m such a puss. Ugh! I hereby turn in my guy-card.

Anywho, “Definitely, Maybe” shows us that kids can be both inquisitive and wise, and no one is more inquisitive and wise than ten-year-old Maya (Abigail Breslin), especially after she was just given her first sex education class. When Dad, Will (Ryan Reynolds), in the midst of a divorce, picks her up from school after said class, little does he know the questioning and scrutiny he is about to come under, and it all relates to Maya wanting to know which of Dad’s previous girlfriends is her mom (she did, remember, just find out how babies are made) so for an evening bedroom tale, Dad gets to explain to Maya his past loves, and maybe help Maya understand why things didn’t work out between him and her mom.

Starting back in 1992, fresh out of college, with his college sweetheart, Emily (Elizabeth Banks), Dad explains how back then he had aspirations, as a young Democrat, to become President of the United States, and what better way then to work on the campaign of a Governor from Arkansas named Bill Clinton. To do so, though, Will must go to New York City, eventually breaking up the two of them up (don’t worry, that’s not really a spoiler), but this allowed him to find two other women, namely Summer (Rachel Weisz) and April (Isla Fisher). As the years go on we learn of Dad’s escapades and friendships with all three, with Summer being a journalist who always had a thing for her elder thesis advisor, Hampton (a fantastic Kevin Kline), while April becomes Will’s perpetual friend, although there is always that tension of love when they are together.

So, as we flashback from Will’s stories about love to Maya’s interpretation of the women, Emily thinks she has figured out whether Summer, April, or Emily are her mother, and we get to find out, too, only the movie doesn’t end there because Maya, wanting Dad to be happy, knows she has a little more work to do.

What makes “Definitely, Maybe” work are multitudes of things. One was I thought Ryan Reynolds did a nice job at playing Dad, as well seeing his aspirations for the world rise and fall with the world of politics (it’s a great scene when he throws his noodles at the TV as Bill Clinton is awash in Monica-Gate) intertwined with his relationships. You can also see his trouble in finding true love, and how, being a dude, he fails to see love right in front of his eyes. Now, as much as Ryan was good, it is really the women who steal the show in this movie. Elizabeth Banks does a great job as Will’s college girlfriend, I don’t think anyone really wanted Summer to be Maya’s mom, especially towards the end, with Rachel Weisz playing that part well, and Isla Fisher is just adorable as April, the friend and never the girlfriend. But, of course, the scene-stealer was constantly Abigail Breslin who was both adorable and hilarious, and used just enough to not overdo her adorableness and hilariousness

Okay, dudes, if you don’t have a sensitive side and you get pulled kicking and screaming to this movie, you do have three good-looking ladies to ogle at while your honey is touched by the romance of it all, but if sometimes you have a soft side, I think this is a great movie for couples of any age. Part of me, though, is sad, because it looks like Ryan Reynolds is growing up which sadly means no “Van Wilder: He’s a Professor Now.”

It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “Definitely, Maybe.” Fine, you can attribute some of that rating to my being a puss, but there are a lot of cute laughs in the movie brought out by everyone, and the addition of one of my favorite A3 songs (and it’s not even “Woke Up This Morning”) didn’t hurt, either.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Adventureland

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:46 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Adventureland
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Miramax
Kiddie Movie: Please leave them at home unless you want them to work at the summertime carnival.
Date Movie: If she wanted an artsy “Superbad.”
Gratuitous Sex: Some people get it on but no boobies.
Gratuitous Violence: Some penis punching.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: In an adult, artsy kind of way.
Memorable Scene: Frigo in the window.
Memorable Quote: Nothing totally stood out.
Directed By: Gret Mottola
Produced By: Ted Hope, Anne Carey, Sidney Kimmel

I understand why they did it, hell, if I were the movie studio I probably would have done it, too, what with “Adventureland” being directed by the same dude, Greg Mottola, who also directed the riotous “Superbad,” but if you are going to see “Adventureland” expecting the same kind of movie as “Superbad,” as the trailers suggest, you will probably be kind of pissed because even though there is drug use, even though there is drinking, even though there are some funny moments, “Adventureland” is a different breed of comedy movie, bordering on drama, so if you are looking for moment where a McLovin gets to shoot a gun, it won’t be happening, but there is a lot of punching to the balls.

Here’s the story basics…

James (Jesse Eisenberg) is planning out his life – looking to spend a summer in Europe after graduating college, getting ready for grad school, and looking for a life of probably potential snootery as a journalist.  Sadly things quickly change when his dad, played by Jack Gilpin, gets demoted and transplanted to Pittsburgh, and now James, who has to earn some money for grad school since his parents can’t afford it anymore, must find a summer job.  Sadly no one is looking for a Renaissance studies’ major, so low and behold he ends up working the Games area of Adventureland.  But even with artsy aspirations as a journalist, in a weird way as a carnie worker James seems to fit in with a lot of the other wayward souls, stoners, and seeming lowlife who aren’t really lowlifes at all.  And with this mix comes Em, (Kristen Stewart), a cute, dark-haired girl who is also kind of lost in her life, and wouldn’t you know it, James and Em hit it off.  So, for a little over an hour and a half, we see how their lives intertwine during a summer, how their own insecurities become broken as they begin to fall in love, how the temptation of the hottie, Lisa P (Margerita Levieva), and the studliness of the carnie mechanic, Connell (Ryan Reynolds – who is really coming into his own as an actor, way past his goofball reputation as Van Wilder), who professes to have played guitar with Lou Reed, come into play, and somehow, over a summer, there is a lot of growing up to do.

Sure, there are other characters around, with the spotlight being kind of on Bobby (Bill Hader) and Paulette (Kristen Wiig), the owners of Adventureland, and who can forget the scene with, I hope his name is Frigo (Matt Bush), in the window at Em’s house, but really this movie is a spotlight for two people, James and Em, and how in the end, through it all, they both need each other.

So, for you “Superbad” fans, please don’t go into “Adventureland” expecting the same kind of movie, and for those of you afraid of seeing the movie because you don’t want another raunchy comedy, let me say that this movie is a little more realistic about coming-of-age, probably a little more relatable to those who hit late high school and college in the late 80’s, and this is really a thinking person’s comedy, a little on the artsy side, so don’t be afraid to see it.  The only issue I had with the movie is that for most of the movie I couldn’t get past the vocal affectations of Jesse Eisenberg as James, because it seems his role was written totally for either Michael Cera in the character he played in “Juno,” or Jesse has been studying too many of Kristen Wiig’s characters from Saturday Night Live because his pauses and manner of speaking sounded too much like her, and not like his own character.  I know, I’m probably over-analyzing that too much, but as the movie went on, I just kept thinking James should be more like James and not Paulie Bleeker.

In the end I did like “Adventureland,” even thinking it is a solid 4 stars out of 5, but I do want to warn you not to expect “Superbad,” because this film ain’t it.  Expect a lot more dialogue, subtle jokes, and a little more realism that in a weird way you might be able to relate to.

And, oh yea, and I don’t know why I obsessed on this so much while watching the movie, but I forgot how tall Ryan Reynolds is because compared to Jesse Eisendberg and Kristen Stewart, he looked like a giant next to them.  Just me and my observation, because I’m weird.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!