Friday, August 22, 2014

What If: Movie Review (AKA The F Word)

A romantic comedy with romance and comedy.
What If asks questions like, “what if your best friend is also the love of your life?” Alternate title The F Word stands for friendship, but it also wants to make sure you know how fun, fresh and explicit the dialogue is. Like a modern take on When Harry Met Sally, but one of the best things about the movie is that it’s a pure romantic comedy — plenty of romance and comedy and never veering away from that. 2013

Directed by: Michael Dowse

Screenplay by: Elan Mastai
Based on play by TJ Dawe, Michael Rinaldi

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

From Left to Right: Zoe Kazan plays Chantry and Daniel Radcliffe
plays Wallace in THE F WORD, an eOne Films release
The meet cute is at the beginning: Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and Chantry (Zoe Kazan) are at a party and bond over magnetic poetry on the fridge. Wallace knows instantly that he likes this girl – he’s finally deleted a voice message from his ex-girlfriend from a year ago so he’s ready to move on, but Chantry is in a long-term relationship and thinks Wallace can be a great friend. Let the adorable friendship and awkward relationship games begin.

The film has a great pace with the rapid-fire dialogue and the friendship/romance keeping pace. Their relationship (and the film by extension because the entirety of the film is their relationship) progresses exactly as the genre dictates. Both a blessing and a curse, the film never pretends to be something it’s not, tries to distract you from that with the witty dialogue, but it can leave you a bit wanting.

Wallace and Chantry are both at crossroads in their life; he’s a med school drop-out and doesn’t know what he’s doing, she has to consider moving away from everything she knows to stay in her chosen career. But after presenting all that, we just focus on their relationship. As if Chantry just has to recognize her true feelings for Wallace and all will be resolved.

Adam Driver plays Allan and Mackenzie Davis plays Nicole
in THE F WORD, an eOne films release.
The Genie award for Best Screenplay seems a bit out of place. While the dialogue admirably keeps the comedy up, the characters and story can be found in almost any movie. The actors themselves are just as responsible for the enjoyment of the film. Radcliffe does a fantastic job with his purposefully awkward style of speech and Zazan is very entertaining with her purposefully awkward physical mannerisms. Together they make a pretty funny and cute couple. Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis are purposefully over-the-top as their best friends. Rafe Spall is also quite enjoyable as Chantry’s boyfriend Ben who knows exactly what Wallace is all about.

What If is a romantic comedy. It’s romantic and it’s funny and its target audience should enjoy it just fine. It really is that simple.

Similar Titles:

Austenland (2013) - The good and bad of a Jane Austen theme park with clever romance and cute comedy.