Monday, August 25, 2014

Movie Review: "What If" (2013)

Movie"What If"
Director: Michael Dowse
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
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Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is med school dropout just getting over a year-long funk after his now ex-girlfriend cheated on him. Ready to finally socialize a little, Wallace heads to his friend Allan's (Adam Driver) house for a party. It is at this party he meets a girl name Chantry (Zoe Kazan), to whom he instantly connects. In fact, she seems to be the perfect...until Wallace finds out she already has a successful long-term live-in boyfriend named Ben (Rafe Spall). At first, Wallace is ready to forget about Chantry and move on with his life, until he runs into her one night at a screening of "The Princess Bride." He decides to put his romantic feelings for her on the back burner and is ready to give being just friends a try. 

We went into this movie having only seen the trailer once many months ago, putting it from our minds and figuring we'd just catch it on DVD. We were very surprised to find it showing at our local theater last week. Apprehensively, we watched it...and really enjoyed it! In fact, I was almost blown away by how much I liked it. This movie deals with a very common relationship problem: can men and women ever really be just friends? The overall answer is yes, but this movies takes the question a step further: can Wallace overcome his romantic feelings for Chantry and remain just friends with her? We'll let you find out the answer for yourselves.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan had crazy good chemistry throughout this film. Daniel Radcliffe bring his dry British cynicism into the character of Wallace, who bitter about love, having been burned recently, but has a sharp charm about him that makes him charismatic through his anger. Zoe Kazan shines as Chantry. She is a quirky graphics designer who has the same fun-but-weird sense of humor as Wallace, and this is why and how they click so quickly. Their witty banter is pretty out there for strangers and yet we were instantly connected and rooting for them to get together. Radcliffe certainly has come into his own as an actor since the Harry Potter series, and we look forward to watching him whenever we get the chance. It's nice to see Adam Driver getting so many film opportunities. His character was funny, but his humor felt a bit more forced and obnoxious than Wallace's.

This is a very white-bread, hipster comedy that not everyone will enjoy. Not ever single person who sees this movie will identify with it. The humor is built on a foundation over the absurdity of the Fool's Gold sandwich and the overall irony of every day life. It's self-aware that this type of humor isn't for everyone, as seen in Chantry's Cool Whip story, which is tried on two groups of people, one finding it hilarious and the other finding it childish and uninteresting. We like this type of humor, so it worked just fine for us.

The most surprising thing of all is that their romance felt genuine. We believed in their connection and ended up wanting to see it through til the very end. It just goes to show that love can spring out of the most awkward, random conversations and scenarios. It puts its heart into something that isn't necessarily reciprocated all the time, but that's the beauty in its simplicity. The story as a whole isn't anything new or groundbreaking, but the romance feels real and their connection is undeniable. Plus, the movie also features some of "Chantry's" very cool drawings coming to life and fluttering around the screen, which was a neat break from all the talk about love and poop. Oh yeah, that's the one strange thing: this film talks an awful lot about feces, which is something you don't see in most romance films geared towards adults. Overall, this was a pleasant surprise and one that touched our hearts quite a bit.

Shout out to my best friend Craig, who I have known since the 7th grade and have never slept with, let alone thought of sleeping with. No offense. Love you, bro!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "The Spectacular Now"

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