What If (2013) (or The F Word in the US) is a romantic comedy directed by Michael Dowse and written by Elan Mastai. This is based on the play Toothpaste and Cigars written by T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver, Megan Park and Rafe Spall.
Synopsis: Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is a former medical student, and has recently broken up with his girlfriend due to her cheating on him. He is British, and stays in Toronto with his sister and nephew. One night whilst at a party, he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan) who is the cousin of his best friend Allan (Adam Driver). There is an instant connection between the two, and they quickly become inseparable. The only thing is she has a long term live in boyfriend named Ben (Rafe Spall).
Throughout the story Wallace must keep his true romantic feelings for Chantry at bay whilst maintaining their friendship.
When I initially saw the trailer for What If, I was curious to see this. Good romantic comedies are hard to come by these days because of their formulaic structure as well as their often mediocre performances, but this movie seemed different. I am glad I took a chance with this one.
What If is a quirky romantic story filled with a lot of heart. Yes, this is not an original concept, or anything too complex but there is something very fresh about this. Since 500 Days of Summer (2009), I was waiting for a worthy counterpart and this movie serves as one.
A charming quirkiness is omnipresent in the story, and we quickly see this with the dialogue between Wallace and Chantry as they congregate by a fridge with magnets that spell words. Although they exchange weird banter between each other, we instantly see their connection which paves way for their relationship throughout. Some of the best scenes in this movie are the two merely talking, but we see them flourish as a result. This is not a conventional mainstream romantic comedy, which is part of its charm.
Although Radcliffe will always be known for Harry Potter, he has proven in recent years that he can really act and does not need to ride on the coat-tails of his most famous role. This recent performance cements this, and we can see that he can be funny as well as charming in a movie about relationships as opposed to wizards and witches.
This is the first time I have seen Zoe Kazan in a prominent acting role, and she is very likeable. Her relationship with Radcliffe is believable and filled with chemistry. She also reminds me of Zooey Deschanel with her piercing blue eyes and effortless wit.
Wallace’ best friend Allan played by Adam Driver is one of the stand out performances with regards to humour, and serves as the main vehicle for comic relief in the story. His towering height juxtaposed with Radcliffe’s small frame portrays them as the ultimate odd couple, but Driver comes away with some of the best one liners in the movie.
I highly recommend this movie if you fancy a decent romantic comedy with some wit and charm about it. Go and see it.
By Robert Spence