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'What If' adds nothing new to the rom-com genre

What If

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What If” this modern romantic comedy were less predictable and not just another forgettable entry in the genre? You probably would have gotten a better movie that doesn’t have you rolling your every half hour.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan plays young twenty-somethings who are just friends in "What If."
CBS Films

Ever since the release of “(500) Days of Summer,” Hollywood studios have been trying (and mostly failing) at replicating the same kind of success that film received. “What If” is the latest addition in an assembly of rom-coms that tries to do that.

Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is a sad sack who is just tired of having relationships that aren’t quite successful. At a party hosted by his roommate Allan (Adam Driver), he instantly forms a bond with Chantry (Zoe Kazan), a free-spirited animator. Even though Chantry has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall), they decided to become just friends. In Wallace’s case, he is in a lose-lose situation. If he steals her away from her boyfriend, he would be considered a jerk, but if he doesn’t do anything about getting the girl he wants, he will regret it.

Radcliffe and Kazan turn in commendable performances and the movie has some quirky humor. It also does try to present what platonic relationships currently entails and how hard it is for Wallace to struggle with harboring a crush on his best friend.

Elan Matsai’s script bogs the film down with a few too many awkward situations and predictable sequences that make you feel you have seen this movie before. The characters themselves are even parodies of every cliché character you see in rom-coms whether it is the whimsical dream girl who shares the same obsession or the roommate/best friend who acts like a jerk, but insists on doing dumb things on behalf of his friend’s best interest.

“What If” might be the first modern movie to feature characters (who are in their late 20s) not using Facebook and/or Twitter. It might be a refresher to see these characters not worrying about their social media status or the romantic ideal of sending postcards a means of urgent communication. However, it feels contrived and unbelievable that in the modern age where our cell phones enable us to communicate with our loved ones through different apps whether it is Skype or Facetime.

“What If” tries its best to explore what it takes to be friends with someone you might have a crush on, but the film is far from original as it features prototypical characters and clichés that all leads up to a predictable outcome.

“What If” is now playing at AMC Sunset Place 24, Regal Oakwood Stadium 18 and Regal South Beach Stadium 18 & IMAX.