Danielle Radcliffe can do more than have nude affairs with horses and defeat Lord Voldemort.
He can also roll with the cutest girl in the world in What If, the latest indie rom-com that, aside from having a terrible title, is delightful. That girl is Zoe Kazan, whose eyes are so big and blue that they seem custom-designed to make us fall in love with her.
And we do.
You last saw Kazan as the title character in 2012’s Ruby Sparks. Radcliffe seems a little out of her league. Pale and a touch scruffier than his last trip to Hogwarts, Radcliffe is handsome, but in an awkward, honest, straight gamer sort of way. They meet at his best friend’s house party. You see him doing what I do at every house party I’ve ever been to: quietly arranging poetry on the refrigerator with word magnets.
The poetry itself is pure heartbreak: “love is stupid monkeys.” He’s recovering from a breakup.
Chantry (Kazan) steps in like a ray of sunshine, confesses that she, too, is very awkward, and they start cracking jokes.
Perfection. Two young hipsters in the city, experts at sarcasm, able to talk about Elvis and poop and call each other “hot pants.”
It’s almost too cutesy to be believed. Okay, it is too cutesy to be believed.
At one point, this guy is flying to Europe to tell her how he feels. Haven’t we seen that already? A plane flight, just-missed-each-other kind of romance? Haven’t we seen the too-cute-for-words couple? The Pinterest-y filter over this movie is remedied by their palpable chemistry, but it feels too simple. The whole thing has lace edges. An arts-and-crafts, microbrewery kind of feel.
Chantry has a boyfriend. When he walks her home, she says how relieving it is to just be friends with a guy without him trying to get in her pants.
But Dan Radcliffe’s romantic, bumbling Wallace is nice enough to keep being her friend, even though he’s falling in love. Their friendship grows, and graduates to late night phone calls and trips to the beach. But they’re still, definitely, just friends.
Wallace doesn’t want to break up Chanty’s relationship because he holds a philosophy about relationships that should really hit home with us cheaters: if you start a relationship badly then it’s going to end badly, and he doesn’t want that. Not with her.
Go see “What If,” and tweet about how #adorbs it is when you do.