What If / The F Word  (2013)    63/100

Rating :   63/100                                                                       98 Min        15

The title (both versions – it was released as ‘The F Word’ in Canada) of this Canadian set romcom kind of sums up the very stretched premise behind it – what does one do when one really connects and falls in love with a girl who’s in a relationship, as if the writers were trying to think of a twist on the otherwise extremely formulaic and banal set-up and one of them thought ‘well, what if we do the same as usual but we make one of them unattainable so the other is tortured and that will form the tension, and we can get some young, up and coming actors in order to sell it as something worthwhile.’ The two actors in this instance are Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, who both do a pretty good job and both have recent success stories with ‘Kill Your Darlings‘ and ‘Ruby Sparks‘ respectively, but in terms of raw sexual and romantic chemistry the fireworks never really go off here.

There are a few nice and witty moments, and overall things are balanced enough, but it never escapes from the sort of desperate nature of the writing trying not to make the central pair out to be cheating scumbags, and yet portray ‘the boyfriend’ character (played by Rafe Spall) as being a bit of a douche, but not too overtly bad either. It purports to play with fire, but extinguishes it in fear of losing control, as ultimately it’s pretty dark and depressing territory they’re heading into, and they don’t really want to challenge the young couple demographic that they are hoping to appeal to. It’s kind of like a Nicholas Sparks take on an Ingmar Bergman film, and although there are moments of decent comedy, it feels like they arose through the invention of the actors themselves rather than the team behind the film – a resultant sweet distraction rather than something with deeper meaning or any resonance likely to be found.

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