What If excels on its two leads in Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as well as a great supporting cast, rather than sharp, witty dialogue or even the plot which has been done in the past, including 500 Days of Summer. Still, it’s well worth a watch.
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy, Romance
Sony | PG13 – 98 min. – $35.99 | November 25, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
What If is a fun, sometimes quirky, romantic-comedy/drama though the comparisons made to 500 Days of Summer, which is a better film anyway, are apt. That said, thanks to an electric cast, headlined by Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, it works in spite of the film’s imperfections.
The story opens with medical school dropout Wallace (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) who, while sitting on top of a roof that overlooks the Toronto skyline, decides after over a year from breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, to finally move on. But soon enough, while attending a party hosted by best friend Allan (ADAM DRIVER), finds an instant connection with Allan’s cousin Chantry (ZOE KAZAN). The pair exchange witty banter and retorts but just when he thought he met the woman of his dreams, she casually reveals she lives with her longtime boyfriend, Ben (RAFE SPALL). After some resistance to stay away, Wallace succumbs to the fact that he can only be friends with Chantry.
The two form a strong friendship exchanging stories with one another but soon enough it becomes apparent Wallace wants more, especially after seeing Allan apparently finding true love with Nicole (MACKENZIE DAVIS) and even spurns the advances of Chantry’s horny sister, Dalia (MEGAN PARK).
It’s a back and forth game as the pair try to just be friends and the difficulties that ensue, exasperated when Ben accepts a position overseas keeping him away from Chantry and her loneliness allows her to examine a romantic relationship with Wallace, a fact noticed by her friends especially the fact she and Wallace have similar personalities.
There’s not much else to What If as it heavily relies on its two leads and between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, it makes an otherwise stilted, and predictable script, far more tolerable; even the template quirky supporting cast by Adam Driver and Megan Park are a lot of fun in their limited capacities.
The film was helmed by Michael Dowse who previous directed the flawed by still incredibly fun Take Me Home Tonight, and is based on the play “Toothpaste & Cigars” adapted by Elan Mastai (MVP: Most Vertical Primate, Alone in the Dark). And although the screenplay isn’t the sharpest, beginning with some awkwardly written dialogue, the two leads do keep things together sharing wonderful chemistry ‘till the end and to the point where as an audience member, you root for the two of them.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
Blurred Lines (3:58; HD), Opposites Attract (3:52; HD) and A Modern Love Story (4:04; HD) are a basic EPK featurettes there only to advertise the film but have some promotional interviews with the cast.
Behind the Scenes of What If (18:07; HD) is a bit more informative providing behind-the-scenes footage alongside on-set interviews with the cast and crew.
Deleted Scenes (5:39; HD) – Three scenes cut down or removed are included, though nothing really stands out.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment distributes What If onto Blu-ray presented in the film’s original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Although not the most pleasing transfer I’ve come across, the video here does have good detail levels especially for close-ups but becomes a tad murkier on the background objects. Still, colors look nice and bright and well balanced.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers solid audio but excels more in the dialogue department and due to the genre, there’s really not much here to judge outside of the music and score which help provide some depth but the bulk is located through the center speaker.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, What If excels on its two leads in Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as well as a great supporting cast, rather than sharp, witty dialogue or even the plot which has been done in the past, including 500 Days of Summer. Still, it’s well worth a watch. The Blu-ray released by Sony offers good audio/video transfers while the bonus material is fairly limited.