Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 14th February, 2008
Time : 112 minutes
Director, Writer : Adam Brooks; Music : Clint Mansell
Starring : Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, Adam Ferrara, Derek Luke, Liane Balaban, Annie Parisse, Nestor Serrano, Kevin Kline
An intelligent romantic comedy which explores three relationships and also three different streams, parenting, politics and, of course, love…with a pronounced, wry, self-deprecating sense of humour, as we chart the path of Ryan Reynolds to where he is today…about to get divorced and having a chat with his daughter, Abigail, about his love life.
Abigail, all of ten, has just had her first sex education class, leaving her with lots of unanswered questions…like why one of her classmate’s parents say he was an accident (how can someone have sex by accident), why do people have sex if they don’t want kids and also, what is the man-word for slut ? One thing leads to another and Ryan is forced to tell the entire story of his adult love life, his relationships…he sneakily, though, agrees that while talking about his past, he wont tell her which one is his current wife (Abigail’s mom)…she has to guess…
What the film does so beautifully is intersperse the love story (with a touch of mystery) with Ryan’s emotions and trials as a parent…the cute way the daughter nestles amongst her various pillows, the realistic, very adult-ish conversation between them, how he handles her various anxieties, particularly about the happy ending and also her astute observations.
Amongst all the positives, it also showcases the reality of American politics. It shows the disappointment of Ryan, a campaign worker for Clinton’s ‘92 election blitz and also a political analyst in the early part of his years (and an aspiring politician himself), with all that’s going on around him. How we support, almost with a blind eye, all the obvious shortcomings in our chosen candidate, the disillusionment as we realize that its all about power and money, with truth and integrity the first sacrificial offerings at the political altar. Had experienced the same first hand with Rajiv Gandhi and later VP Singh, and recently saw others experience it with AAP.
The music is simply excellent, the acting / performances spot on – no praise high enough for Ryan and Abigail, the real lead pair of this film. Both get their emotions, expressions exactly right, make you root for them, cheer for them and their discoveries. We also have an energetic, bouncy turn by Isla Fisher, a seductive one by Rachel Weisz, a confused, coming of age one by Elizabeth. Forget Ryan, you also find yourself falling in love with all three. And, finally, we have a scathing, going down in flames cameo by Kevin Kline.
After a long time, saw a film which made you go through a roller-coaster of such emotions and laugh at the same time. The bet over the cigarettes, the nicknames (copy girl, toilet paper guy, ‘Yes, I’m her Daddy’), the one-liners (I’m with two Freshmen, who on a good day, equal a sophomore), there is enough to keep you going and for the movie to keep on playing in your mind for a long time. Definitely one for the DVD collection !