This film got released in a lot of markets as “What If . . .,” the very phrase “the f word” apparently now being offensive, even when it’s referring to a non-profane word (“friend” is the word in this case). Seriously, I can’t park on that, but just . . . seriously? Just a reference to the fact that some word or other begins with F is now enough to warrant a title change? Really?
Well, anyway, it’s a pretty typical rom-com in structure. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan meet cute and become friends; that’s all they can be since she has a boyfriend, right? Well, say no more, right? The pleasure doesn’t lie in the plot twists, if you get my meaning. But there are pleasures. Radcliffe and Kazan have great chemistry together and they both give winning, charming performances. Kazan is an actress I haven’t seen much of and I found her quite winsome and adorable here. The rest of the cast is also really good. Particularly Mackenzie Davis and Adam Driver as a ludicrously passionate couple and Megan Park as the younger sister of the Kazan character are very funny. The script is laugh out loud funny, pretty consistently. It’s the kind of film that doesn’t work that well when it gets into dramatic territory, but luckily it’s constantly undercutting the dramatic moments. A dramatic conversation at one point takes a bizarre left turn into comedy when one character, in the midst of a very serious discussion, is forced to begin awkwardly giving someone the Heimlich maneuver, complete with flying wad of food. Yeah, like that.
It’s not a life-changing movie or a great work of art, but it’s pleasantly entertaining. It’s a bit too long and the last fifteen minutes in particular drag, since by that point we’re in the “direct copy-paste from every other rom-com” portion of the film. But I laughed a lot and basically enjoyed myself all the way through. It’s far better than most modern rom-coms, even if it has flaws. I’d call it a good movie. Recommended if you’re into this kind of thing. 3 stars.
tl;dr – The clichés and tropes of the rom-com genre come thick and fast, but Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan have great chemistry and the script is genuinely hilarious. Doesn’t transcend the genre, but it rises to the top. 3 stars.