August 15, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tom Long

Review: 'What If' is classic romantic woe with pixie dust sprinkles

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in the romantic 'What If.' (Caitlin Cronenberg)

What if you went to a romantic comedy, thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t remember much about the story the next day?

It might mean the story wasn’t very good. It might mean the story didn’t matter. Or it might mean you’re losing your marbles. But let’s go with option number two — the story didn’t matter.

And that’s fine because “What If” flies by on the instant and lasting chemistry between leads Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. The two banter, complete each others’ thoughts and circle one of the most lasting conundrums known to man or woman — the problem of wanting more than friendship out of a relationship.

That relationship would be between Wallace (Radcliffe), a med school dropout, and Chantry (Kazan), an illustrator. They meet at a party while investigating the magnets on a refrigerator, later he sees her heading out and offers to walk her home, which he does in a bubble of nervous charm.

But once they get to her abode, Chantry lets on that she has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall) inside — can’t they just be friends? At first Wallace, who’s been burned by romance before, rejects the idea. But then Chantry’s irresistible pixieness pulls him back in and he signs on for the friendship thing.

You know how well that’s going to work. This is a romantic comedy, after all. Thankfully, the comedy here — aided by Adam Driver as Wallace’s friend — is effortless enough to avoid too much somber rumination. Director Michael Dowse (the under-appreciated “Goon”) realizes it’s all about energy and basic conflict, and everyone knows where this is going anyway. He simply follows his adorable characters to the sparkling inevitable.

‘What If’

'What If'

GRADE: B

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity and language

Running time: 102 minutes

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