Australian Council on Children and the Media

Definitely, Maybe

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Sexual references and themes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Definitely, Maybe
  • a review of Definitely, Maybe completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 February 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to sexual references and themes.
Children over the age of 13 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and themes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Definitely, Maybe
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language.
Length 112 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A disenchanted advertising executive Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds), in an attempt to explain his impending divorce to his young daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin), tells her the story of how he met her mother. Will disguises the characters so that Maya will have to guess which of the three main women in her father’s youth became his wife and her mother.

Emily (Elizabeth Banks) was Will’s college sweetheart and they appeared to have “a plan” that included marriage in the not too distant future. However the plan went awry when Will accepted a position in New York and Emily slept with his old roommate.

In New York Will met Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz) but, while buying an engagement ring for Summer, ran into April (Isla Fisher) with whom he had had a previous relationship. April had returned from Europe knowing that she was in love with Will, but by the time Will realised how he felt about April and ended things with Summer, April was in a relationship with someone else.

At the end of Will’s story Maya accurately guesses which woman is her mother. However, the storytelling doesn’t have the result that Maya had hoped it would have. It doesn’t reignite any old feelings or help her parents realise why and how they had loved each other so much in the first place. It does, however, give her father some perspective and encourage him to do something that he should have done years earlier.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Relationship breakdown and divorce

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Will throws a box of noodles at a television screen.
  • In anger Will smashes his beer bottle on the side of April’s doorstep.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Apart from the above mentioned scenes, children under five are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Apart from the above mentioned scenes, children under eight are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Apart from the violent scenes mentioned above, children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Marlboro cigarettes
  • American Eagle Blue cigarettes

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Maya’s class has a detailed sexual education lesson at school. The following conversations with her dad include numerous descriptive references to intercourse including how “the penis is thrust into the vagina” and the journey of the sperm.
  • Will reads Summer’s diary, including details of her “experimentation” with Emily one summer at University.
  • We hear that Emily sleeps with Will’s old roommate.
  • References are made to Will getting to have a threesome with Emily and Summer.
  • Summer discusses her sexual relationship with Hampton Roth. Professor Roth is, apparently, a sexual expert.
  • Will is told that he has seductive eyes and wears clothes that women want to rip from his body.
  • April tells how she walked away from a hot guy in Greece by first “removing his hand from her ass”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Will tells a man that his fly is down and that he should really wear some underwear.
  • The Professor answers the door wearing nothing but an open robe.
  • Summer and Will are apparently naked beneath the sheets and talk about spending the day in bed together.
  • Frequent scenes of passionate kissing between Will and various women.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is frequent smoking of cigarettes including a debate and test to see which brand is best.
  • There is frequent drinking: beer, wine, champagne.
  • Will passes out after drinking with the professor.
  • Will gets drunk at his birthday party.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “Double-crossing bitch”
  •  “slut”
  •  “what a dick”
  •  “shit”

In a nutshell

Definitely, Maybe is a romantic comedy that is likely to appeal to women. The film is well cast with an involving plot but, due to the themes and sexual references, is not a family film.

The main messages from this movie are that not everything in life works out just the way you want it and that happy endings come in many different ways.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with older children include:

  • honesty
  • forgiveness
  • dedication and determination to follow your dreams

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the real-life consequences of

  • smoking and drinking
  • the impact that divorce can have on the children involved

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