Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What If
Releases August 8th, 2014
1 hr 42 min
Rated PG-13
Romantic Comedy


Director: Michael Dowse

Daniel Radcliffe as Wallace
Zoe Kazan as Chantry
Megan Park as Dalia
Adam Driver as Allan
Mackenzie Davis as Nicole
Rafe Spall as Ben
Lucius Hoyos as Felix
Jemima Rooper as Ellie
Tommie-Amber Pirie as Gretchen
Meghan Heffern as Tabby
Jonathan Cherry as Josh
Rebecca Northan as Holly
Jordan Hayes as Becky
Oona Chaplin as Julianne

Review by Stephen M.

Most of us grew up with Daniel Radcliffe as "Harry Potter", and with What If, we see how far he has grown as an actor.  What If is a delightful romantic comedy that centers around the idea of a guy and a girl as best friends and nothing more.  Absurd, I know!  Daniel Radcliffe plays Wallace, whose outlook on love is pessimistic due to his parents' divorce as well as the situation with his last girlfriend.  Zoe Kazan plays Chantry, an animator with a long time boyfriend who is often away working for the U.N..

Wallace and Chantry meet at one of Wallace's roommate Allan's (Adam Driver) parties and immediately hit it off.  Wallace asks Chantry if they can get together again and she gives him her number.  And as she heads up to her apartment, mentions that her boyfriend must be worried as she is usually not home so late.  Doh!  He loses her number not so accidentally but fate would bring them together again and their friendship begins.

I am a sucker for sappy romantic comedies and What If does it beautifully.  The slow teasing and back and forth build up calls for a lot of tense moments where you want to just scream at the screen.  The characters are lovable and seem especially made for each other, if not for the fault in their stars.  The screenplay is well written with a witty dialogue that has you interested and laughing from beginning to end.

All of this of course could not have been done without the two great leads in the film along with a superb supporting cast.  The chemistry between the two, moves you as there are moments when you expect the two to bridge the gap only to have you wait just a bit longer.  Besides Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, I also enjoyed the performance of Adam Driver as Allan as well as Megan Park as Chantry's sister Dalia.  If there were anything to nitpick on the film is that Ben's character seemed a bit too old compared to Chantry and that Allan and his girlfriend/wife's jokes got a bit repetitive.

Overall, I would highly recommend the film.  It's playing in the US for a limited engagement having already played in Canada and Ireland under the name "The F Word."  It's an insightful and honest look at a specific type of relationship that most have probably gone through before at one point or another with our "just friends."   The thoughts of "What If?"  The answer is if you want to take Adam Driver's character Allan's advice of looking for love with the end result being either coming off as sleazy, conniving or pathetic.  It's these types of quirky insights that make the film so enjoyable.

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