Whilst flying from Manila to SFO last month, I decided to trust my instincts and triple-rom-com-feature it. This strategy worked well on a trans-oceanic flight I took a few years ago; I watched No Strings Attached, Blue Valentine and Midnight in Paris en route to SFO from CDG. My reasoning: My emotions are heightened (as is my body! haaaa!) anyway, so if I’m going to cry, it may as well be in front of a bunch of people I’m definitely not going to see again (my travel pal notwithstanding); I had to stay awake to ensure that my sleep schedule would realign itself with little trouble; and I only had earbuds, so when I tried to watch a louder movie (ie, Guardians of the Galaxy), I just couldn’t hear anything at all. Strange how hearing loss will point you in the direction of your aeronautical/cinematic destiny. I totally made the right call. Of course, I don’t completely trust my recommendations of these movies because, as I said before, airplanes mess with your ability to level-headedly enjoy a movie, but the rom-comminess was exactly what I needed. And none of my choices contained Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson as far as I could tell, so that’s good.
What If is, admittedly, a little pointless, because you know what’s going to happen as soon as you see the two main characters on screen together. I’ll just say, for the sake of being coy, that they start off as friends! It’s fun to watch anyway, though, for the sake of seeing Daniel Radcliffe blossom into his own unique brand of leading man. I never got on the Harry Potter train, so I’m a relatively new member of his fan club, and I have no frame of reference for his childhood acting capabilities. In any case, I find him so charming and refreshing in interviews that I’m inclined to root for him as he takes his career in this new direction. It helps that he’s very good at it. He also doesn’t look like everyone else on screen. He’s a short dude, distinctly accented, sort of pale, well-spoken, and very polite. He doesn’t exactly exude sex appeal. But he has a draw about him, an aura of good-naturedness, and an adorable face that all add up to attractiveness nonetheless. It’s hard to describe what I’m trying to say without outright saying “Daniel Radcliffe is a sexpot” or, alternately, “Daniel Radcliffe is not even a little bit hot.” I mean neither of those things. I just really like that he conjures up his own brand of appeal, I guess. I also enjoy that Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis were cast as the crazy, stable, tall friend characters, rather than the “mains.” They both can play pretty zany, and they got to do a little of that in this movie, but mostly they were the voices of reason, making out in the background.
Radcliffe also has nice, effortless chemistry with Zoe Kazan. I imagine neither of them are particularly difficult people to have chemistry with, acting-wise, but again, it’s pleasant to watch both of them on screen together. I get a bit of a strong MPDG vibe from her, because her character name is fucking Chantry and she draws a lot, so I’m inclined to be wary. But she seems cool.
What If is, if nothing else, sweet. It’s enjoyable. It contains twentysomethings that present themselves to the world respectfully and don’t have a fuck-all attitude towards everyone, which is promising. They still make dumb relationship decisions, but that will never change.
Stay tuned for a post about the second movie in my triple feature experience. (I won’t be writing about the third because I rewatched one of my faves. Couldn’t help it. Had to see JGL dance again.)