Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

‘What If’: rooting for Daniel Radcliffe in love

A review of “What If,” starring Daniel Radcliffe as a med-school dropout in love. Three stars out of four.


Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review ★★★  

‘What If,’ with Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall. Directed by Michael Dowse, from a screenplay by Elan Mastai. 97 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including references throughout, partial nudity and language. Meridian.

advertising

One of the great pleasures of the “Harry Potter” movies was watching Daniel Radcliffe grow — not just from child to young man, but from novice to accomplished actor. In the romantic comedy “What If,” we see a new side of him.

As Wallace, a med-school dropout in love with a woman who isn’t available, he’s all yearning and charm, with a romantic streak simmering somewhere below his slightly brittle nice-guy exterior. You’re on his side instantly, even though — this being a romantic comedy that strictly follows rom-com convention — he needs to wait awhile for his dream to come true.

There’s nothing particularly inventive about “What If” (except for the whimsical animation that occasionally flutters into the film, as if a character’s imagination suddenly took hold of things); it’s essentially a contemporary “When Harry Met Sally” played out with 20-somethings, and there’s nothing terribly wrong with that.

There’s Wallace, who got dumped by his girlfriend and is picturesquely through with love. There’s Chantry (Zoe Kazan), the adorably squeaky-voiced young woman he meets at a party, only to have his hopes dashed by her casual mention of “my boyfriend.” There’s Wallace’s best friend Allan (a very funny Adam Driver) and his girlfriend Dalia (Megan Park), a sort of sassy junior-varsity Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Not to mention the discussions about whether men and women can just be friends, cozy late-night phone conversations in separate beds, chats in a diner booth. For heaven’s sake, Wallace and Chantry both showed up solo to a screening of “The Princess Bride”! What other evidence do they want?

“What If,” introducing us to a couple whom we genuinely root for (they even have matching blue eyes), is a welcome pleasure.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times Historical Archives

Browse our newspaper page archives from 1900-1984


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►