On my way to see this film, given all I had heard and read about it, I was afraid that it was going to just be another rom-com where boy meets girl, and for some reason they can't be together, before eventually they can, and everyone lives happily ever after. And unfortunately, this is exactly the case. And I don't mind spoiling the ending because from the first moment the two main characters, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and Chantry (Zoe Chazan), you know that they are going to end up together.
The whole thing takes place in Toronto, Canada, with the two main characters meeting at a house party thrown by Wallace's best friend and Chantry's room mate, Allan (Adam Driver). Wallace is just after coming out of a messy break-up, and Chantry is in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall), and the whole plot of the film is whether or not the two can stay friends and not try to take it any further, ruining Chantry's relationship. Ben is a copyright lawyer who eventually has to move to Dublin for a year with work, and as Chantry and Wallace grow closer, it all becomes very complicated for everyone to decide what is the right thing to do.
In fairness, all of the characters are quite interesting, and the interactions and dialogue is funny in an unconventional and quirky way, which actually makes the film quite charming. At one point Wallace makes a best man's speech at Allan's wedding to Nicole (Makenzie Davis) which is both very weird and very funny, making him very endearing. And the same is true of all of the characters in each of their own moments.
The problem is, however, that the film is too full of clichés, too stereotypical and just too predictable. Whether it be the shot of Wallace deleting the voicemail from his old girlfriend at the start, or the constant images of aeroplanes taking off and landing every time someone left a country, it all just felt a little like the director, Michael Dowse, read "A Beginner's Guide To Making A Film". And all of the weird names and the weird jobs just felt like it was trying to hard to be quirky, when in fact the dialogue would've achieved that without any help. At the end of it all, it just felt like What If was trying to hard to be 500 Days Of Summer, except with a more predictable ending.
"What If" is in cinemas on August 20th