In the highly imperfect world of contemporary romantic comedies, What If is as close to perfect as anything we've got, not least for the way it captures the abject hopefulness of young people who'd like to be in love but don't know how to go about it. Who does know how to go about it? And while What If does have its blemishes — there are times when it's just too cute for its own good — it's so enjoyable that it's easy to forgive. What If gets that there's no anguish so delectable as that of meeting the right person at the wrong time. Daniel Radcliffe's Wallace is a would-be doctor who left medical school after a messy breakup sent him 'round the bend. One night, at a party hosted by a friend (the ubiquitous Adam Driver), he and an attractive young woman meet cute over a set of refrigerator poetry magnets. Zoe Kazan's Chantry is an animator -- whimsy alert! -- and she seems to like him, but she has a boyfriend, and she suggests that maybe the two could hang out together "as friends."
Of course, not even the presence of "the boyfriend" (played ably by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy) means the end of Wallace and Chantry. If you're allergic to too much winsomeness, you'll have to steel yourself for a few things: Chiefly, you might have to get used to Kazan and her Blythe-doll eyes -- she's like an adorable acorn in a mini coat and tights. But her over-the-top, pixie quality probably helps draw off some of Radcliffe's nervous energy. He's terrific, regardless -- he's a good leading man precisely because he isn't a model of poise.