What If (2014) – A Review That Wants To Get In Your Pants

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“Have you seen this movie blog called Screenkicker?” “Woah, its beautiful!”

In a startling turn of events I’m reviewing my first ever romantic comedy! Yes it could be argued that Under The Skin is one (it has nude Scarlett Johansson and hilarious Glasgow accents) but I have to draw a line somewhere. I’ve had bad experiences with these kind of films mainly due to The World’s Worst Person™ – Kate Hudson. What If is unapologetic-ally a traditional romantic comedy which is elevated by its excellent cast. So what’s it about?

What If tells the story of a heartbroken young man named Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) who meets and falls in love with a girl who has a boyfriend. He decides to just be her friend and not tell her how he really feels. Can a man and woman be friends without falling in love? Yes, yes they can, however not in movies which is why we get films like this. Will Wallace reveal his true feelings or try to move on. You probably can figure it out for yourself.

THE F WORD
“And that’s the day my family were brutally murdered!” – Daniel’s jokes were pretty dark

The thing is What If tries to avoid all of the rom-com cliches to be something modern and fresh. The problem though is that it avoids some cliches while falling in to others. Chantry’s (Zoe Kazan) boyfriend is actually a really nice guy where in other films he would be a total dicksplash. Cliche avoided. Then there’s a scene with Wallace and Chantry lying in their beds talking about shit on their phones. Damn, we were doing so well but at least they’re trying.

Its obvious the makers are aiming for a 500 Hundred Days of Summer kind of movie by focusing on the man and making sex jokes. But where that film was fresh and unique What If has a story we’ve seen a hundred times. When Harry Met Sally was wittier and more memorable while approaching the same themes.

"So does Ginny Weasley know you're here?"
“So does Ginny Weasley know you’re here?”

If it sounds like I hated What If then you’d be wrong. While this is unoriginal, unsurprising and a little bit twee towards the end its also a really sweet film with a good heart. A lot of this is due to efforts of the cast. Daniel Radcliffe is excellent as a normal, relatable, likable hero looking for love and Zoe Kazan is like a cute little mushroom headed dream-girl (I mean that in a good way, I loved her). These two along with some funny lines help What If stand out from the rom-com crowd. Sometimes even I can drop my cool cynicism and enjoy a little bit of romance.

7/10

 

Screenkicker Wizard Index

BEST

Gandalf in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

 

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WORST

 

44 comments

  1. Ah, brilliant review 🙂
    *hazaaaaaaar for romcoms!*
    I was particularly intrigued by the 500 Days of Summer thought (I adored that film). I must say, although I love my romantic films, yes, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t have an almost predictable storyline. Yeah, there’s good acting, but PFFSSSHHH we all know that so-and-so and so-and-so will be together. Meh, it’s a tough category (haha back to defending le romance!)

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  2. Nice man! Gotta say previews have me pretty enticed, but I was fearing this. That it wasn’t going to stack up to much but a typical, if not very decent, rom-com. Glad Radcliffe is good as a non-wizard, though.

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  3. Your first rom-com, look at you Mikey! Well done mate, and I totally understand your view of Kate Hudson as The World’s Worst Person™ (you even trademarked it, ahah). A lot of the horrible rom-coms have her in it! I might rent this one solely for Radcliffe, it’s cool that he’s branching out to various genres, he’s very likable!

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  4. Uh, I hate films that go down that route (friends with motivations). It sounds even worse if the boyfriend is actually a nice guy. It is very common for dudes to try and approach my girlfriend when she goes out with the, “We can just be friends. Whats your number?”. Urghh…

    Although I do agree that sometimes a man and a woman can be just friends. A few of my closest friends are girls and I’ve never felt anyway further towards them.

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  5. The Wizard Index is spot on.

    And Under the Skin is not a rom com, no matter how many times ScarJo is naked. (The accents are awesome, though.) 🙂

    And this movie sounds half decent. I’ll give it a shot at some point.

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  6. I really liked the trailer to this, which usually means that the whole of internet-land hates it, so I’m glad to see it got a 7/10. I can’t wait to see it 🙂

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  7. Great review. I must admit that I really enjoy Radcliffe’s work when you take him out of Potter. Meh, what a waste of his talents there, just didn’t work for me. Looks like this was alright, albeit predictable. You are right, in movies men and women can NEVER just be friends.

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