Friday, 8 August 2014

What If (2014)

(Note: this review was written a few days after I saw the film as other events and reviews took priority)

Daniel Radcliffe stars in a rom-com about a man, Wallace (Radcliffe), who is struggling to get over a break-up with his ex-girlfriend which eventually leads to him being good friends with a woman called Chantry (Zoe Kazan). However, he soon finds he has feelings for Chantry which makes life difficult. I wouldn't call this an original concept. Indeed, the whole film is full of the expected rom-com clichés, so I don't think any more plot details are necessary.

The film does appear to be partially self-aware, or so I got the impression after it discusses certain things concerning relationships and films. Which, because of the ultimately generic nature of the film, doesn't help as it makes it look as if the film is perfectly happy to stick with the familiar elements of the genre (which, nowadays, includes talking about relationships and films) rather than mess around with it. There is little in the way of testing times for the would-be couple (they're just 'perfect' for each other - it's a film to make people feel happy) and it ends as expected (though I did watch it late into the night and so fell asleep when I got home - leading me to dream up an additional ending which was a bit darker. Which was confusing, because it meant I did temporarily believe that was how it ended when I woke up. In my opinion, it was a much better ending).

I'm not usually fond of romances (I am, after all, a 'grumpy cynic' who can't take anything seriously - apparently) and many 'rom-coms' disgust me. This one was, at least, bearable enough and not unpleasant (it could have been worse) despite the lack of originality or risk. And that's all there really is to it.

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