Feb 2008 13

Ryan Reynolds stars in this Romantic dramadey that focuses on the romantic trials and tribulations of William Hayes and the for the most part is a pretty solid picture.
William Hayes is about to get divorced and his daughter tries to get him to tell him the story of his past love life hoping that he will realize why her mom is so great and they can get back together. Sounds sappy and predictable, but it doesn’t follow the beaten path. It is charming, cute, and funny throughout while remaining real and sad at times.
The three women in Will’s life are all given fake names so his daughter Maya (played by the excellent and cute Abigail Breslin) can try and figure out which one is her mother just based on the way her father describes her. The first possibility is the college sweetheart Emily (Elizabeth Banks). Will is forced to leave her to pursue his political goals and aspirations with the Clinton campaign in 92 only to find him self as a page for the campaign team forcing him to wonder what he is doing there. In the mean time Summer and April (Rachel Weisz and Isla Fisher respectively) creep into temptations path; Summer has a history with Emily and April acting as the “copy girl” at the campaign office. Will runs into issues with both girls and end up having enduring relationships on and off again with all of these women over time. I will not divulge much more, since the “romance mystery” is the whole point of seeing the film.
Reynolds is fantastic in the lead and you can’t help from liking him. Him and Breslin work very well together and are believable as a father/daughter team, even if they went with the younger look of Reynolds for the part. Reynolds is constantly charming and endearing and a bit of a lovable dufus mixed in.
Banks gets the least to do and the least amount of screen time and that is a shame because she is a great actress. She takes full advantage of what time she is given and is great in the scene by the pond in Central Park.
Weisz is very good and devilish as the shifty and risky girl. Easy to fall for and hard to hold onto, Will and Summer form a believable bond and how they end up is entirely believable as well. Weisz and Reynolds also get to chew up the screen with Kevin Kline for a number of their scenes and Kline is fun and witty as the writer Hampton Roth.
Fisher gets the most work of the ladies and is great as the care free spirit April. Eternally cute and a great friend to will there ups and downs in their relationship are very true and sad at times, but they also manage to have a lot of fun as well.
Breslin has some great laughs in her commentary on the story as it goes and the filmmakers use the mechanic of children using inappropriate language to great effect in this film. I hope to see her continued success carry on for as long as possible.
The film itself rarely falls into the pitfalls of the genre and zigs where it should zag on a number of occasions. This keeps the film feeling fresh and interesting, with a plot you can’t quite figure out all the way. The final couple of scenes though start to buy into cliché, and the motivations of all the characters begin to get a little weak, but it doesn’t ruin the experience by any means.
The film also uses history to nice effect to weave the story around allowing for jokes at the expense of few of today’s modern politicians. The one thing that the film really misses on though is the abrupt and mostly unprovoked tailspin Will takes at one point that seems a bit to dramatic for its own good.
The movie doesn’t avoid all predictability, but is fresh most of the time. It might not hold up under high scrutiny, but a sweet movie like this should be bothered with very harsh scrutiny when it is one of the more solid entries in the genre. The film doesn’t lay on the sap and has some genuinely heart warming moments through out and Reynolds and company all do great work making this a good movie for those looking for a little romance in their theater visit.


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