The F Word (2014)
Dir: Michael Dowse
The best romantic comedies snap and crackle with the pop of witty dialogue and effervescent chemistry. It’s a genre that has embraced and embodies many hoary clichés, yet can also transcend them when the right elements align. The F Word (renamed What If outside of Canada) is Daniel Radcliffe’s latest post-Potter pic, and it falls somewhere in between those two extremes.
The movie opens, as all films of its ilk must, with Daniel Radcliffe’s Wallace meeting-cute with Zoe Kazan’s Chantry. Wallace is thawing out after a long post-breakup hibernation and Chantry embodies all the manic pixie dream girl ideals that we’ve come to expect from modern rom-coms. The twist? Chantry has a boyfriend and is only looking for a friend (the titular F Word). It’s an intriguing setup and one that could have legs in the right hands. Radcliffe is game, if a little overmatched, and Kazan shines in the kind of a role that she could easily make a career of.
As Wallace and Chantry’s friendship grows, a kind of “will they or won’t they?” stasis is established that the movie looks to draw tension from. After an initial period apart, (more…)