Cinema Review: What If

What If will be released into UK cinemas on August 20th.
What If will be released into UK cinemas on August 20th.

It was unintentional to post two Daniel Radcliffe reviews back to back, however thanks to Cineworld’s ‘Unlimited Screenings’ tonight I had the joy of seeing ‘What If’ billed as the new romantic comedy-drama starring Daniel Radcliffe (Wallace) and Zoe Kazan (Chantry). Beginning and ending with a party, the pair form an instant bond and despite the suspicions of everyone around them, including Chantry’s boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall) they become fast friends, whilst also trying to work out whether their friendship is something more.

Obviously I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this is a film that isn’t for everyone. With a fairly broad plot that relies on the building romantic tension between the similarly awkward and shy Radcliffe (Wallace) and Kazan (Chantry) this is a film that is a bit too ‘gentle comedy’ for me. Radcliffe fits in incredibly well as the slightly awkward British chap in a foreign country who has had his fragile heart broken on more than one occasion, and Kazan is a good foil for him as the safe, trusting Chandry.

However in determining the genre there is a lack of dramatic tension and a lack of laugh out loud comedy. Radcliffe’s dry British wit is mildly amusing and little else, with the comedic highlight occurring when Ben is accidently thrown out the window. The drama is mainly delivered when our main protagonists finally become aware of each other’s intentions, however the impact of this is dulled by the fact that the last hour has essentially been a series of awkward set pieces.

The supporting cast all have their role to play in the build up. As always there is a best friend, in this case Alan (Adam Driver), and a sister (Jemima Roper) for Wallace, and a sister (Megan Park) for Chantry. All are convincing in their main roles of trying to get Wallace and Chantry realise their love for each other, though Driver is undoubtedly the weaker link, not quite convincing enough as the crazy drunken friend.

The film itself is an adapted play – Toothpaste and Cigars by TJ Dawe and Mike Rinaldi – and the film won an award for best adapted screenplay at the Canadian Screen Awards in 2013. I did find the film enjoyable, Radcliffe’s dry humour appealing to my own subtle sense. This is definitely one for the romantics, and the ones who prefer their comedy and drama on the cute, gentle and non-offensive side.

Nutleyone rating: 6/10

‘What If’ was originally screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2013 and will be released to UK cinemas nationwide from August 20th.