• Tue. May 28th, 2024

IF – This movie about imagination…. lacks imagination.

ByTaylor T Carlson

May 15, 2024

IF is directed by John Krasinski. The film stars Krasinski, Ryan Reynolds, Cailey Fleming, Fiona Shaw, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Steve Carell, and Louis Gossett Jr.

Young Bea is going through a difficult time in her life. She lost her mother to an illness, and her father now faces a similar hurdle. Staying in her grandmother’s apartment, she meets a mysterious man who has befriended discarded imaginary friends that children have had over the years. Bea finds a new purpose, trying to match these former creations of the imagination with new owners, or their original ones who have since grown up. Will she succeed? And will her father recover?

I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical to hear that John Krasinski, the mastermind behind the A QUIET PLACE movies, was trying his hands at a family movie, though the star power behind it certainly seemed interesting, and it sounded like a novel concept that could appeal to young and old alike. Sadly, IF is an unmitigated disaster, lacking imagination and original ideas. A handful of heartwarming moments are unfortunately surrounded by less imaginative ones that go nowhere and lack focus.

If I can give IF credit in one place, it’s the performance of its young up-and-coming star Cailey Fleming. This young lady has clearly faced her share of trauma at her young age, and is needless to say reluctant to return to the world of imagination, but obviously wants to be optimistic and happy for her ailing father, played by director Krasinski, who’s criminally underused here. Fleming’s Bea IS the movie, standing as its one true bright light, giving the most believable and effective performance (and that’s saying something when you’re surrounded by Hollywood A-listers). The other cast members get the occasional emotional highlight, including Fiona Shaw, Bea’s grandmother who’s also severely underused.

Sadly, other aspects don’t fare nearly as well. The biggest and most blatant problem with IF, ironically, is that it lacks imagination. The concept of pairing people with creatures is strikingly similar to MONSTERS, INC., and Pixar’s film handled this concept with far more emotion and genuine feeling. Even the IFs themselves are rather boring design, with the two main ones resembling a mentally challenged Grimace, and the other looking like the love child of Betty Boop and the Jollibee mascot. The other IFs are literally one-joke characters, in many cases the lowest common denominator. You can tell your screenwriters have run out of ideas when they’re introducing IFs, and in one case, all they could come up with was a fart joke.

IF can’t even decide what it wants to be. The initial concept, apparently, is Bea trying to play matchmaker to these creatures, is rather quickly and haphazardly abandoned in favor of matching them with their original kids, now adults. It takes far too long to reach this point, by which the movie has already run out of steam. You know something is wrong with a movie when even Ryan Reynolds, probably Hollywood’s most charismatic and likable leading man, seems bored. Other elements, including a deceased and/or ill parent, feel like they were ripped right from the handbook of cliches.

Options for family entertainment are a dime a dozen at movie theaters these days, and I have a feeling something better than IF will be along in a matter of weeks once we’re underway for summer blockbuster season. Skip it.

The film features no traditional mid-credits or post-credits scenes, but does have a dedication to one of the actors following the end of the credits.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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