What If Blu-ray review
Wallace sits on his roof at night, listening to a voicemail from his ex-girlfriend. It’s been 379 days since she left the message. It’s about time he deletes it.
Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe, who recently played Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas’ KILL YOUR DARLINGS) has started to come back out of the shell he crawled into after he found out his girlfriend was cheating on him with their anatomy professor and dropped out of medical school. At his first party after deciding to be social again, he meets artist Chantry (Zoe Kazan, who played the title role in 2012’s RUBY SPARKS), the cousin of his best friend, Allan (Adam Driver, HBO’s GIRLS). She engages him in conversation, he walks her home and they agree to meet again, despite her having a boyfriend (Rafe Spall, who played author Yann Martel in Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI).
And so they’ll be friends. They send each other emails, go out for dinner (where Wallace reveals his passion for fried food and expertise on Elvis’ demise) and take walks. It’s only a matter of time before the tension rises too high and they’ll have to confront what their relationship is really based on, other than that they both see THE PRINCESS BRIDE alone on a weeknight.
The audience knows that certain circumstances will frequently force Wallace and Chantry together because it’s been done so many times before, most notably in what seems to be a major influence, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… (although the timespan is significantly shorter). The viewer can accept such concocted scenarios because they come with this sort of movie. What’s more difficult to swallow is its occasional desperateness to be cute (at one point, one of Chantry’s drawings comes to life and flies about the city) and funny (how does Chantry’s boyfriend go from burning his eyes to falling out of a window like he’s in a bad Farrelly Brothers movie?).
Despite the clear mistakes, WHAT IF is a quite enjoyable effort. The screenplay, by Elan Mastai (adapting T.J. Daw and Michael Rinaldi’s play Toothpaste and Cigars), may not be as smart as if thinks it is, but there are a number of strangely charming little moments, like when Wallace introduces Chantry to the infamous Fool’s Gold Sandwich and she surprises him on their next meeting with more history.
Director Michael Dowse (2011’s GOON and 2011’s TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT; he’s also directed several videos for The New Pornographers) has a basic approach and doesn’t bring anything inventive to the story and so needed the best leads for his latest feature. And what makes WHAT IF (originally titled THE F FORD, for, presumably, “friendship”) work as a whole is the chemistry between Radcliffe and Kazan. Both actors are talented and play their characters well, making them likeable and relatable even when they’re stuck spitting out forced quips and being lopped into bogus situations.
WHAT IF premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Best Adapted Screenplay honor at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards.
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The picture quality is clean and features strong colors and details.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The dialogue is clear and the soundtrack comes through nicely.
Blurred Lines (3:58) looks at the plot and characters.
Behind the Scenes of WHAT IF (18:07): This featurette uses interviews (with Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and more) and on-set footage to give an overview of the production of WHAT IF, with focus on the romantic comedy genre, the script and more.
Opposites Attract (3:52) looks at the cast and characters.
A Modern Love Story (4:04) covers the story, ideas brought up in the movie and more.
Deleted Scenes (5:39): There are three here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “We’re Just Friends,” “Not Talking” and “Fought Back.”