Romantic comedy: Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad is in the midst of a divorce when his 10 year old daughter, Maya, starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love. Will's story begins in 1992, as a young, starry-eyed aspiring politician who moves to New York from Wisconsin in order to work on the Clinton campaign. For Maya, Will relives his past as a idealistic young man learning the ins and outs of big city politics, and recounts the history of his romantic relationships with three very different women. On the campaign, Will's best buddy is Russell McCormack. They not only have similar political aspirations, they share the same type of girl problems, too. Will hopelessly attempts a "PG" version of his story for his daughter ad changes the names so Maya has to guess who he finally married. Is her mother Will's college sweetheart, the dependable girl next-door Emily? Is she his longtime ...Written by
At the beginning of the movie, Will is telling his daughter a story from back in the early 1990s. Even though the movie was released in 2008, (seven years after 11 September 2001), when Will looks out the plane window, as the plane lays into New York, the World Trade Center's Twin Towers are visible in the background skyline. They were either digitally added, or archived video was used. This is an attention to detail by the director/producer/editor, etc. See more »
When Will is flying over Manhattan, he is arriving in the wrong direction. He is flying westbound and looking down the island of Manhattan. The major NY Metro airports are east and south of NYC. See more »
Great storytelling makes otherwise ordinary rom-com something special.
When his ten-year-old daughter starts asking awkward questions about his impending divorce - and his life before she was born - a thirtysomething Manhattan dad sits her down and tells her the story of his three great loves. He changes the names to keep the surprise of who he eventually married, and he spins a charming story - spanning fifteen years - of loves lost and found and lost again.
And found again.
Ryan Reynolds (one of my all-time favourite performers) has seldom been better, Abigail Breslin (who appears frequently to comment on the story being told) is as genuinely charming as ever, and all three girlfriends are wonderfully cast. The story moves along at brisk pace and it's easy to see why the hero would fall in love with each in turn (at various stages in his life). What's not as easy to see is which one he will eventually marry. And, as well as successfully concealing the identity of the mother, the film makes you wonder many times how it will all end. Yes, it's a romantic comedy, so you're conditioned to expect a happy ending, but this isn't your typical romantic comedy so you're expecting a non-typical ending.
And you're right.
The ending is just as clever as the rest of the movie and it makes for a great story overall. It's a very modern story. I think it would have been called "a sophisticated sex comedy" in bygone days. Which just means the characters are a bit more mature and closer to real life than you normally find in this genre.
What could have been an enjoyable B-grade rom-com is lifted up by unconventional storytelling and a little extra effort spent to get the ending just right. Grade "A" from me.
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