Unicorns, honest politicians, a decent romantic comedy — some things are so rare as to be impossible to find.
Luckily, The F Word can help with that last category. It's a romantic comedy that proves to be both romantic and genuinely comedic.
Although nothing in the genre could ever escape all the available cliches, The F Word (also known as What If) manages a fresh spin on things thanks to an intelligent script and attractive characters.
Daniel Radcliffe is Wallace, a med school dropout with a broken heart. He meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan) at a party; there's an immediate spark between the two, but she's already involved in a long-term relationship. (Her relationship is with a three-dimensional character played by Rafe Spall, so the resulting love triangle doesn't seem quite so rom-com dopey.)
Wallace and Chantry create a friendship based on their mutual love of language and shared ideas about humour. Sexual tension simmers just under the surface, so The F Word zips along with both characters trying to keep a lid on their true feelings. They strive to keep things on a friendship level.
That proves to be difficult.
The F Word leads with witty dialogue and uses physical comedy sparingly, but to great effect. The chemistry between Radcliffe and Kazan is the movie's biggest draw. Both actors are smart and funny in real life and together onscreen they are dazzling; lucky thing the screenplay from Elan Mastai can keep up with them.
It helps that The F Word has a supporting cast that includes Adam Driver, Jemima Rooper, Megan Park and Mackenzie Davis, all of them playing slightly off-kilter characters.
Director Michael Dowse, known for 'guy' comedies such as FUBAR or Goon, keeps things fairly muscular with The F Word, moving the action along in a faster, funnier world than the genre usually inhabits. The filmmaker has suggested that this makes The F Word a great date movie, as men can watch it without gagging; he makes a good point.
Toronto audiences get the extra bonus of seeing their city through the eyes of love, a point of view that makes every inch of the waterfront, every park and every streetcar hugely desirable.
If you didn't know better you'd almost want to live there.
The F Word is charming and entertaining, and you'll care about what happens to the characters. What's more, you'll get the recipe to Elvis Presley's special Fool's Gold sandwich.
Not a lot of other romantic comedies can offer any of that.