Coming to theatres from director Michael Dowse, writer Elan Mastai and CBS Films comes a tale that asks the question of WHAT IF.
The film tells the story of Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), a young man living in his sister’s home after ending a relationship and dropping out of medical school. It seems everyone has found love along with his best friend Allan (Adam Driver) who, at a party, meets Nicole (Mackenzie Davis).
That’s also where Wallace meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan). Wallace is immediately taken with her quick wit and self deprecating sense of humor. Thinking he had found someone to connect with, hopes are dashed when she mentions boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall).
So Wallace takes the change of being friends with Chantry. Spending time together he ignores the obvious chemistry hoping it will fade. Talking about everything from relationships to their crazy friends to movies and the infamous FOOLS GOLD sandwich, it all seemed to be working. Even if both of them aren’t being completely honest.
That is until Ben decides he is going to take an assignment in Ireland which means Chantry stays behind trying to keep their relationship together. But when Wallace finally admits to his affections – everything begins to fall apart.
FINAL WORD: Radcliffe as Wallace is completely brilliant as this character. His humor is quick and sometimes biting but delivered with charm. This character is completely endearing yet there are moments you want to scream, “Just tell her!” There is no way not to root for Wallace with the audience wanting him to find happiness. This is a great opportunity for Radcliffe and he seized it quite well.
Kazan as Chantry is equally as quick and biting. I have been a huge fan of hers since the film RUBY SPARKS. There is something completely startling but at the same time amazingly funny about the character of Chantry. Settling for love instead of being in love seems to be her MO here. The audience can relate to her character and does want to give her a swift kick now and again.
Driver as Allan is fun, funny and a good friend to Chantry and Wallace. He and girlfriend Nicole see what these two characters refuse to and want their friends to be happy. Davis as Nicole is hilarious and the fact that she sees Wallace as such a good person gave the whole room an ‘awwww’ moment. I like those moments. Spall as Ben is a douche bag waiting to happen.
Other cast include: Oona Chaplain as UN Worker, Megan Park as Dalia, Jemima Rooper as Ellie, Jordan Hayes as Becky, Meghan Heffern as Tabby, Jonathan Cherry as Josh, Tommie-Amber Pirie as Gretchen and Adam Fergus as Rolf.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give WHAT IF four tubs of popcorn out of five. There are a lot of cutsie films out about love, romance etc. and most of them make me want to hurl honestly. Once in a while a film comes along that doesn’t go by way of corny and sappy to offer up some romance all warmed up nicely with some biting humor.
“WHAT IF the right person comes along at exactly the wrong time?” That question frames the story and eats at the heart of our star-crossed would-be lover”, explains screenwriter Elan Mastai of his work. “It’s about those undeniable connections you make with people that aren’t always convenient. Timing is such a big part of finding the right person. I like the idea of an ethical romantic comedy – people trying to do the right thing. To me the essential theme of the movie is you can’t lie your way to happiness.”
Director Dowse offer about the film, “It has a unique voice that first and foremost is funny and I like how Elan uses the lead characters’ shared sense of humor to actually create and fuel the romance. For me, any time you are trying to flirt with somebody, it’s about comedy. That’s sort of the road to that. So I think it’s a smart and very realistic way of bringing these people together. They share a sort of sardonic outlook with sarcasm and they make each other laugh, that buys a lot of empathy for the characters.”
Am I thrilled Radcliffe is trying different genres that don’t include hats and owls? Absolutely. I believe him to have so much more to offer and seeing comedy, drama and creepiness in his last films is nice. His latest offering will be the film HORNS and I look forward to that.
Kazan, who is just as delightful in person to talk with, is an actress that is believable and relatable. In this film she offers such grand comedic timing and I personally can not wait to see what she brings to the screen next.
So grab a date and have a few laughs while rooting for the good guys in romance.
In the end – can men and women just be friends? Well, What If….?