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Movie review: 'What If'

What If
A; Romance/Comedy
Dir: Michael Dowse
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan

About A year ago, Zoe Kazan made one of the most interesting and fresh romantic comedies in Hollywood. It was called Ruby Sparks. So, when one walks into another Zoe Kazan rom com, this time co-starring Daniel Radcliffe, the intrigue level shoots up. Sadly, the movie doesn’t deliver on the intrigue scale.

Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame plays the guy who’s been heartbroken plenty of times, most recently by someone whom he thought was ‘the one’, who happens to be Zoe Kazan
Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame plays the guy who’s been heartbroken plenty of times, most recently by someone whom he thought was ‘the one’, who happens to be Zoe Kazan

What if is a lazy film made for lazy people, starring a lazy couple who aren’t even very interesting to begin with. This is a couple which wants to be together but doesn’t have a good enough reason to break one relationship to form their own. This is a film that wants to you root for two people to be together — never mind that they are clearly very different with different ideas and who aren’t very good for each other. Unless you have been in one such relationship it’s difficult to really enjoy
this movie.

Radcliffe plays the guy who’s been heartbroken plenty of times, most recently by someone whom he thought was ‘the one’. His career isn’t exactly great. Kazan plays the girl in a seemingly perfect relationship with a nice guy who has a good career. They meet and long for each other, often almost giving in and then resisting urges. It is supposed to be ‘love’, but it is also stupidity, and also unfaithfulness. It doesn’t help that the guy’s past is peppered with lying and cheating, and he proceeds to whisk a girl away from her own relationship. The film does nothing to address this irony, and instead simply plays out like a rom com for the college crowd, while pretending to be more than what it actually is.

The film also piles on cliché after cliché, making the happy ending painfully predictable. Director Michael Dowse has made great films in the past and he does his best to bring Elan Mastai’s terrible script to life. But there’s only so much that one can do with a mediocre plot and unlikable characters.

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