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‘What If’: Ethics can be a bitch

In this Toronto-set fable, Daniel Radcliffe plays Wallace, a med-school dropout, dumped by his GF and – ouch! – living with his single-mom sister.


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Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If (2013)

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If (2013) | Credit: F Word Productions Inc.

What If 

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver

Directed by Michael Dowse

 

This rom-com is really an updated take on When Harry Met Sally . . . for millennials. Meaning, can a guy be friends with a babe without trying to boff her? Luckily, Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan spin sweet magic out of blah-blah-blah clichés. I like when that happens.

In this Toronto-set fable, Radcliffe plays Wallace, a med-school dropout, dumped by his GF and – ouch! – living with his single-mom sister. Kazan, radiating smarts and seductive appeal, plays Chantry (great name), an animator Wallace sparks to at a party. She has a boyfriend, Ben (Rafe Spall). If she didn’t, there’d be no movie. When Ben, a budding diplomat, gets a job in Dublin, it’s a chance for Wallace to make a move. Or is he too decent?

Ethics can be a bitch. Working from a playful script by Elan Mastai, director Michael Dowse (Fubar, Goon) shows a welcome flair for slapstick, especially when Wallace’s roomie Allan (a scene-stealing Adam Driver) is around. A night scene in which Allan conspires to leave Wallace and Chantry naked on a beach is a hoot.Harry Potter fans may freak to hear Radcliffe talk about sex and dick shrinkage, but it’s good to see this gifted actor relax into a contemporary role with no help from FX wizards. What If doesn’t break new ground. But it has charm to spare, and Radcliffe and Kazan are irresistible. No ifs about it.

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