What If

A new review from The Movie Snob.

What If (B-). This is a fairly standard romantic comedy, elevated slightly in my estimation by the winsomeness of the female lead, Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks). Our male lead is a pallid, cynical fellow named Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe, from those interminable Harry Potter movies). Wally dropped out of med school after breaking up with his cheating girlfriend, and now he has a dead-end job and lives in his sister’s attic. But then he goes to a party and meets a quirky gal named Chantry (Kazan) (yes, her character’s name is “Chantry”). Before you can say “Zooey Deschanel,” the two hit it off and he walks her home—to the home, he unhappily discovers, that she shares with her boyfriend of five years, Ben (Rafe Spall, Prometheus). But the emotionally unavailable Chantry still wants to be friends with Wallace, and after a second encounter with Chantry the obviously smitten Wallace decides to live in the Friend Zone and see how things go. It’s decent, as rom-coms go, and I like that the filmmakers didn’t go the obvious route of making Ben some sort of hideous jerk. But on the other hand, the cutesy scenes comes off as contrived, and the supposed-to-be-clever dialogue is occasionally coarse and seldom clever. So, call it an average movie with an above-averagely appealing female star.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

From the desk of The Movie Snob

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (C+). I should stop reviewing these things because I am sure nobody in the vast throng of people that watch these movies agrees with me. Nevertheless, the critic must attend to his duty. I think I liked this installment a tiny bit better than some of the earlier ones because of the romantic subplots that are developing as the young wizards start to grow up. Those stories were entertaining enough. The heavy stuff about the terrifying evil wizard Voldemort, and the effects-heavy battles that supposedly advance thee plot just leave me cold. Also, I was confused by the arc of this movie — it seemed like the big question was whether Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, December Boys) was going to be able to get some big secret out of Hogwarts’ newest professor, but then it sort of sounded like Dumbledore had already guessed, or at least half-guessed, the facts that were being concealed.  Oh well.  Hermione (Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is cute.  And Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland) seems perfect for her role as one of the evil henchmen.

December Boys

New from The Movie Snob

December Boys (B-). My cousin dragged me to this little movie starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame. It’s set in Australia in the 1960’s. Four orphans at a boys’ orphanage run by nuns get to take a holiday at a seaside village. They stay with a kindly older married couple. The oldest (Radcliffe) discovers girls, or at least one girl named Lucy (Teresa Palmer, Warm Bodies). The other three are caught up in the possibility that a young childless couple in the village might adopt one of them. It’s a pleasant enough little movie, although my cousin was outraged by a theological atrocity committed at the very end.