esc: 2013

What If (Canada, 2013)

Predictions: Alex has seen this movie. Kat…knew it starred Daniel Radcliffe? Thus, she predicted that it was about him wandering about town, wondering, “What if I were a wizard?” Stay tuned for as many Harry Potter jokes as we can possibly squash into this entry.

Plot: Daniel Radcliffe is a sad sack who has not yet gotten over his breakup of over a year ago. He drags himself to a party at his friend Adam Driver’s house, where he meets Adam Driver’s cousin, Zoe Kazan. They have a lot in common, and he immediately likes her, but upon walking her home he learns that she has a boyfriend. Since he is a decent person, they become friends instead.

Time passes. They continue to be friends. Zoe Kazan continues to have a boyfriend.

More time passes. Zoe Kazan’s boyfriend, hotshot copyright lawyer, moves to Dublin for what is supposed to be six months. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan hang out even more, growing ever closer. Adam Driver marries a girl he met at that same party. Daniel Radcliffe realizes that he needs to express his feelings, but (blah blah blah) this winds up going terribly, and he and Zoe Kazan stop talking, even though she has broken up with her boyfriend anyway. Zoe Kazan takes a promotion in Taiwan, and Daniel Radcliffe decides to go back to medical school. Adam Driver and his wife host Zoe Kazan’s going-away party, and, at the last minute, Daniel Radcliffe decides to attend. They make up (and out! We will never tire of this incredibly lame barely-a-joke; hope you are looking forward to seeing it approximately 50 more times on this blog).

More time passes. It turns out they got married. How nice.

Best Scene: We really liked this movie, and it’s almost entirely adorable stuff between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, so it’s tough to pick. One of our favorite parts, though, is when they first start becoming friends and are emailing each other. Just one of many lovely and organic parts to this film.

Worst Scene: Maybe the sequence where we’re shown the construction of a “Fool’s Gold” sandwich? A butter-covered loaf of bread, filled with peanut butter, jam, and 1 lb. crispy bacon. The internet says that it’s “surprisingly good,” but we find that difficult to believe. However, the internet also says that it’s 8000 calories, which we do not find difficult to believe.

Best Line: “I have a dead-end job, I live in my sister’s attic, and I never go out. …Uh, correcting pronunciation is my old thing, actually. My new thing is oversharing.” – Daniel Radcliffe, making a winning first impression upon Zoe Kazan. There are actually a lot of funny and/or touching lines in this movie, though. This just happened to be one that we remembered. Props to this movie! There was only one line in it we hated (see below).

Worst Line: Sigh. In the middle of this movie, there is your standard one-trick joke about Adam Driver accidentally sleeping with a trans woman. HERE’S THE THING ABOUT THIS JOKE: besides its being, you know, transphobic, it is SUCH A LAME, OLD, CONSTANTLY-REUSED GARBAGE PIECE OF JOKE. This shitty joke has appeared in basically every piece of media we’ve seen since middle school. Honestly. Come up with a new offensive joke, if you must.

Highlights of the Watching Experience: Toronto is beautiful, y'all!!!! So is Dublin. All the scenery in this movie, A+. We really covet Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe’s neighborhood. The walkability score looks excellent. But why are Daniel Radcliffe and his sister (both clearly British) living in Canada? Zero backstory was provided. Are their parents…also in Canada? Their parents seem to originally have been doctors in London… Discuss.

How Many POC in the Film: Basically none. Bad job, movie. The most we got was the knowledge that Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan had each dated one person of color in the past. Really, movie Canada? Even Hogwarts has, like, three or four POC, and that’s in movie BRITAIN.

Alternate Scenes: The scene in which Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan are out in the city of Toronto, and 50% of the background actors are POC. Alternately, a movie about the zombie apocalypse, in which super-pale Daniel Radcliffe turns out to be Patient Zero. It could still be a romcom, though. But they would be forever separated by his zombie-ness. So maybe not a romcom. A romantic zombie drama. A romzom…dram. Who wants to fund this?? Any takers????

Was the Poster Better or Worse than the Film: Worse. What is happening in this poster???? It is like the fridge magnets have come alive in an insect-y swarm between them. No, we don’t want that. We would not watch that movie.

Score: 8 out of 10 Harry-Potter-hangs-out-with-Kylo-Ren smooches. Guys, this is Adam Driver’s least abhorrent role! He is…perhaps a touch too free-spirited, but otherwise, he is mostly okay. He even has some pretty funny lines from time to time. His face is still weird, though.

Ranking: 10, out of the 78 movies we’ve seen so far. Not bad! Worth watching, if you haven’t seen it and are interested in enjoying some beautiful shots of unrealistically-white Toronto. (Seriously, though, what is this city in which even Chinatown doesn’t have any people of color? Is that Chinatown that Zoe Kazan and her boyfriend are strolling through? Kat genuinely thought it was, like…an Asian-themed farmers’ market. Red lanterns. White people. You know.)