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Non-Review Review: What If?

“Can men and women ever really be friends?” is so familiar that it’s practically a cliché. The line that exists between platonic male-female friendship and romantic entanglement was the engine that drove When Harry Met Sally, one of the best-loved romantic comedies ever produced. What If? covers familiar ground, charting the awkward friendship that develops between a young animator in a long-term relationship and a medical school drop-out working through his own issues.

To be fair, the tension between “romantic entanglement” and “platonic friendship” is somewhat undercut by the fact that What If? positions itself as a romantic comedy. The movie plots a familiar arc, hitting the expected plot points along the way. The structure is very clearly that of a romantic comedy, right down to the somewhat contrived (and inevitable) third act obstacles. Imposing the genre constraints of the “romantic comedy” upon a film like this cannot help but suggest an obvious answer to the  driving question.

What If? works despite the familiarity. That is largely down to the charm of its two lead performers. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan play well off one another, creating a wonderfully intimate dynamic that suggests genuine affection rather than simply superficial attraction. What If? is a light comedy, but one that is executed with sufficient charm and wit.

Why can't we be friends?

Why can’t we be friends?

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Non-Review Review: Goon

Goon is a movie that works surprisingly well. It’s hilarious, brutal, and yet surprisingly sweet. It’s the quintessential sports movie, featuring a plucky young protagonist trying to find his place in the world, while developing his one sporting talent, but it never feels as coy or manipulative as other movies of that type. A large portion of the credit for that charm has to go to Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg for their witty and incredibly quotable script, but I think that most of the movie’s success rests on Seann William Scott as Doug Glatt, the eponymous goon.

He's a blood mess...

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