Andrew Schwartz, Universal Studios
Maya Hayes (Abigail Breslin) and her dad, Will (Ryan Reynolds), in "Definitely, Maybe."

DEFINITELY, MAYBE — *** — Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin; rated PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, brief drugs, slurs, brief sex); Carmike 12 and Ritz 15; Century Sandy and South Salt Lake; Cinemark Jordan Landing; Megaplex District, Gateway and Jordan Commons

"Definitely, Maybe" is most definitely a step forward in the career of comic actor Ryan Reynolds.

To date, he hasn't exactly shown any real, substantive presence or leading-man quality. In fact, his performances in the first "Van Wilder" movie and "Waiting" were more smarmy than charming.

Yet this "mystery love story," as it's described by one of the characters, does have considerable appeal — including Reynolds' performance. There is some unfortunate, tasteless sexual material, however.

Reynolds stars as Will Hayes, a soon-to-be-divorced advertising executive who has his hands full with an inquisitive 11-year-old daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin). After a sex education lecture in school, she has all sorts of questions for him.

So to distract her, Will tells her stories about three very important relationships in his life — those with his childhood sweetheart, Emily (Elizabeth Banks), adventurous journalist Summer (Rachel Weisz) and the sweetly froopy April (Isla Fisher).

Based on clues her father is supplying, Maya is supposed to figure which of the three turned out to be her mother.

That revelation isn't really that surprising, and filmmaker Adam Brooks' plotting is a little formulaic. But there are also some very funny, clever moments.

It certainly helps that he has a very good cast. Reynolds has chemistry with all three female co-stars, while Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") and an uncredited Kevin Kline steal scenes.

"Definitely, Maybe" is rated PG-13 for frank sexual language and humor (references, slang and other suggestive talk), scattered profanity, brief drug references (painkillers and marijuana), derogatory slurs, brief sex (implied) and some comic pratfalls. Running time: 111 minutes.


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