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What If
Genre Romance
 
Review:

Without the Harry Potter thing, Daniel Radcliffe is a pretty ordinary guy, something we tend to lose sight of when it comes to watching him in just about anything post-2011. He's always been a bit of a cold fish, stubbornly determined yet tempered by his British-ness. Imagining him in a quirky Canadian comedy romance would have been a joke in itself a few years back, but it's now a surprising reality in What If.

This offbeat comedy turned romance, originally dubbed The F Word, follows a medical school drop out, Wallace (Radcliffe), as a string of bad relationships derail his love life. Just as he's giving up on the idea of finding "the one", he meets enchanting animator, Chantry (Kazan), who contracts him as a regular hang out after the two begin a problematic friendship.

While he's not the most instantly likable character around, his chemistry with Ruby Sparks, better known as Zoe Kazan, is believable. All the more so, considering their buzz is stuck in the awkward friend zone. While What If is generally quite formulaic and predictable as a bumpy romantic comedy, it rambles along at a good pace delivering some sweet, amusing and laugh-out-loud funny moments.

It's not all flowers-and-chocolates, since the real struggle is Wallace's attempt to stay true as a friend, while patiently nurturing a burgeoning crush for Chantry, against her boyfriend's wishes. The real tension is between these so-called buddies, who are both teetering dangerously close to becoming friends with benefits. As the people around them begin to sense there's much more to their close friendship, they too have to confront their real feelings.

What If has some sweet moments, but it's mostly fun, opting for funny over sappy. The script bristles with vitality, although you can't help but feel it would have been better without the poop jokes. Michael Dowse, director of Goon and screenwriter of The Grand Seduction, has a knack for comedy and draws some lively comedy from his co-leads.The Toronto setting is great for a change from the typical New York scene and it wouldn't be the same without Adam Driver's zany antics.

The bottom line: Enjoyable

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