TheDailySnitcher reviews the new film, What If? ... from director Dallas Jenkins starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Debby Ryan (Disney's, The Suite Life on Deck).
To read our review, please click the "Read More" button below!
UPDATED: Our correspondent, Katie Bellman, interviewed Debby Ryan (Kimberly Walker) today, Saturday, September 11th, and you can listen to our interview via the YouTube videos below:
We'll post a transcript of our interview soon!
What If? … Movie Review
Fifteen years ago Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo) said a tearful farewell to his girlfriend Wendy (Kristy Swanson) to attend seminary school. But Ben ends up taking another path, and instead of seminary and returning for Wendy he becomes a very successful investment banker. Just as he closes a multi-million dollar deal and proposes to his new girlfriend Cynthia (Kristin Minter), his brand-new Mercedes breaks down and an angel named Mike (John Ratzenberger) appears as a tow truck driver and mechanic and sends Ben into another version of reality. Now, Ben has the chance to see what would have happened if he had never left Wendy.
At first Ben is horrified and reluctant to be this alternate version of himself – a humble, small town pastor who doesn’t have a lot of cash but has a wife and two little girls, and instead of his shiny new Mercedes he now owns a minivan. On his first day as the new pastor he delivers a sermon about the importance of making money so that you can buy things, because in doing so you will reach happiness. Needless to say the sermon is not at all well received. Ben isn’t fairing too well at home, either; he can’t remember his children’s’ names and angers his older daughter Kimberly (Debby Ryan) by paying the boy she likes eighty dollars to stay away from her. Wendy, meanwhile, is convinced that they are headed for a divorce, and all Ben wants to do is go back to the city and his life of luxury.
Wendy wonders if this is the “moment” that a preacher has when he questions the rightness of the divine path that he has chosen. What If? ... is a movie that lets us explore what would have happen if we’d doe things a little differently, made the other choice, and how our decisions really do have a profound impact on our lives and the lives of others.
The screenplay, written by Chuck Konzelman, Andrea Gyertson Nasfell and Cary Solomon, is fantastic and realistically written without any cheesy, over-the-top dialogue designed specifically to tug at the heartstrings of viewers. Each line of the script gives you deeper insight into the characters and their motivations and never feels forced or jarring, never taking you out of the scene. Surely, too, the actors benefitted from working with director Dallas Jenkins, who does a wonderful job of juxtaposing the wealth of Ben’s former life to his small town life with Wendy. The pace of the film is spot on, too, interspersed with perfectly timed touching and comedic moments. The casting is exceptional as well, and it is amazing to see such a striking resemblance to Kristy Swanson and Debby Ryan, who play mother and daughter in the film, thereby making the film family truly look like a real family.
The acting is solid and superb. Kevin Sorbo feels like someone you can relate to, and even when he is a successful investment banker he still comes across as a likeable guy. Kristy Swanson feels like a woman you could tell all of your problems to and she would always know exactly the right thing to say; she feels like the perfect, caring mother, and she portrays her role beautifully. Debby Ryan’s role as the older daughter is incredibly believable, and she delivers her lines with realistic emotion, a quiet strength in her own beliefs and abilities, and is certainly someone anyone, young or old, can relate and empathize with. The chemistry and interactions between all of the characters throughout the film is simply excellent and believable, never forced.
Overall, What If ? … is a fantastic new film to see with your friends and family. It is heartwarming, touching, funny, and deeply insightful without ever being too religious or too sentimental – this will definitely increase its appeal to people of all walks and faiths. After watching the film, you will leave with a feeling of renewed hope and faith in life and in love.
What If ? ... hits theatres on August 20th. Click here for a list of theaters that are showing What If ? …
Check out the trailer below:
More clips can be viewed at the film's YouTube channel here.
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