So, I’ve decided to have another go at working through my stack of unwatched DVDs and have divided them up into a couple of double features, based on theme, genre or star. Kicking us off are two featuring my long time man crush, Ryan Reynolds.
Kicking us off is rom-com Definitely Maybe, which sees Reynolds play Will, a successful business type who’s about to get a divorce. When he picks up his daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), she and her classmates have just received their first sexual education lesson, which has led to several scarred and emotional kids. Maya talks to Will about it and asks to hear the story of how he met her mother.
Will tells the story, but transforms it into a “love mystery” where he talks about his life and Maya has to guess which one of them is her mum. Will tells how as a naive, ambitious young man he came to New York in 1992 to work on the Clinton campaign, and of the three women who would come in and out of his life over the next few years, including Maya’s mother.
The three women are- Emily (Elizabeth Banks), his college girlfriend who he was dating when he moved to the city, sophisticated reporter Summer (Rachel Weisz) who he meets because she is an old friend of Emily’s and April (Isla Fisher), a cynical, argumentative girl who is also working at the Clinton campaign in the copy room. As he relates the story Maya learns more about her father and tries to work out which woman is her mother, while also starting to realize that the love of Will’s life may be one of the other two.
I really enjoyed this movie, it was quite a sweet, charming rom-com and the device of having Will tell the story to his daughter was a nice touch, which added to the story. There are several funny moments that come from Will slipping up and sharing too much, and its also rather touching the way that the two characters interact. Breslin is one of the better child actors I’ve seen and she does very well here, playing Maya as a likable, clever little girl. I really loved how the film dealt with the way telling the story effected both of them, causing Will to dig up old feelings and relive painful memories, while also upsetting Maya at times as she was given a look into her father’s flaws and failings.
There’s a great dialogue exchange between the two where they discuss Will’s past and Maya asks “What’s the boy word for slut?” and he responds with “They still haven’t come up with one yet, but I’m sure they’re working on it.” Its a funny line, but it also shows her disappointment in her father and the double standard regarding promiscuity that exists in society.
Reynolds and Breslin work really well together, and they give a sense of a close parent-child relationship. When Maya becomes upset because she realizes at the story’s end that there is no happy ending as Will would go on to divorce her mother, and may well have loved someone else more, his response to her is wonderfully charming, when he tells her that their story did have a happy ending as they had her. Yes, its a little cheesy, but for a soft git like me it worked.
The romantic angle works well too, as at different times I was rooting for two different love interests, even though I’d guessed fairly early on which was going to be “true love”. The film is helped by casting three great actresses in the roles- Banks, Weisz and Fisher are all superb and do their roles well. Fisher in particular is on fine form, and is, in my opinion one of the best rom-com actresses working today.
Reynolds is sensational here, effortlessly charming and sharing good chemistry with all 3 love interests, while also really impressing in the scenes with Maya, which thankfully avoid being too cheesy. The character of Will is realistic, the slow erosion of his idealism and naivete, which also coincides with Clinton’s career path. He says and does stupid things, and makes big mistakes but they feel natural, not just plot contrivances, and they’re ultimately human, relatable failings.
A sweet, funny and clever rom-com. Good supporting cast and a great lead performance from Reynolds. 7/10.
Following this was the superhero effort Green Lantern, which arrived under a bit of a cloud- general consensus seemed to be that the movie had sucked. This was not good, I like the character and thought Reynolds would be a good fit, not only does he look the part but he could play the slightly cocky Hal Jordan comfortably.
Hal Jordan is an irresponsible, womanizing test pilot who is a bit of an underachiever and slacker. He is sought out by Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) a dying member of the Green Lantern Corps, who passes his power ring onto Jordan, charging him with becoming the new protector of the region. Jordan struggles to deal with the responsibility, due to his own fears and lack of faith in himself and must also deal with hostility from fellow corps member Sinestro (Mark Strong) who is unimpressed with Jordan and believes him to not be up to it.
The Corps faces a threat from Parrallax, an immensely powerful being that draws its power from fear and is headed to destroy the Corps and Earth along the way. Can Jordan overcome his demons and defeat Parrallax? Will the Corps ever accept him?
Sadly, the film isn’t great. Reynolds just seems unlucky in never managing to land a true knockout comic book movie- the Wolverine movie where he played Deadpool fell flat and was a missed opportunity, and while I think its fun and it has a special place in my heart, I’m not blind to the many flaws of Blade: Trinity.
The problem here is the fact that they throw far too much at the audience, they have to explain the corps and stuff for newcomers, which means lots of exposition dialogue and a slow start. Perhaps they’d have been better off having Jordan having to go it alone and learn to master his abilities, and introduce the Corps at a later date.
The Jordan fear angle is okay, and Reynolds does well, doing his usual swaggering confidence but revealing that its largely a front for an insecure and scared Jordan. He’s likable and engaging, and does well in the hero stakes, but the film he’s in lets him down.
The special effects and the Lantern costume are a little lame, they’re too weightless and never feel part of the scene, which is a shame as the ring’s power to make things from the wearer’s imagination could lend itself to crazy, visually stunning effect which sadly feels like a missed opportunity here.
But the greatest failing is the final conflict between Jordan and Parrallax. Having been set up as this terrifying, extremely powerful threat when it finally comes down to the showdown its painfully short and easy for Jordan, feeling extremely anticlimactic.
Reynolds does alright, but the best thing here is Mark Strong, who’s a wonderfully powerful, charismatic screen presence and looks the part and adds weight as Sinestro, the Corps’ leader and best warrior. The casting was good but the script and the execution are extremely lacklustre.
On the whole, it just feels like a massive let down. The Green Lantern character and mythos could lend itself to a good cinematic outing, sadly this isn’t it. 4/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO