Cinema review – What If

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Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis and Rafe Spall.

Plot summary: (Courtesy of IMDB) Wallace, who is burned out from a string of failed relationships, forms an instant bond with Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend. Together, they puzzle out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life.

When it comes to romantic comedies, I prefer quirky indie ones rather than those typically “Hollywood” chick-flicks that usually star Kate Hudson or Sarah Jessica Parker alongside a pre-Killer Joe Matthew McConaughey. What If definitely fits into the first category quite comfortably. This particular indie rom-com appealed to me mainly because of the cast. Harry Potter was my big obsession during adolescence, especially the films (except for the sixth film which I thought was a total shambles). Although I’ve since out-grown Potter, I still like to keep up with what the main cast are currently working on.

And out of the three leads, it’s Radcliffe who has been the most ambitious when it comes to choosing film/TV/stage roles. Here he proves himself to be a rather charming romantic leading man, showing off some decent comic timing (although he’s often more gently amusing than laugh-out-loud funny). And the palpable chemistry he has with rising starlet Kazan is what keeps this film afloat.

The supporting cast also bring their A-game with a standout turn from Adam Driver as Wallace’s best friend/confidant Allan, providing most of the film’s bigger laughs. Not everything in the film is perfect though. With the exception of Chantry, the other female characters are merely vapid stereotypes. Plus you do have to question why Chantry would give up her 5-year relationship with Ben (another fine performance by Rafe Spall), who for the most part is actually a nice guy. And while some people might like the cutesy animations that pop up now and again, others will find them just irritating.

Those issues aside, What If is still an enjoyable little film boosted by endearing performances and strong chemistry between the actors. If you’re a fan of other offbeat rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally or 500 Days of Summer, then you’ll love this (even though it might not be as funny or memorable as those two).

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