IF is a true friend - but not your new bestie

Laura Delaney Laura Delaney | 05-17 16:15

IF's offbeat charm and bouncy humour finds an easy rhythm without effort, but there's not enough storytelling muscle to make your imagination swirl.

Writer/director John Krasinski's concept of reuniting imaginary friends (aka IFs) that have been abandoned by their now grown-up companions seems more alluring in concept than execution.

Our protagonist Bea (a magnetic performance by 17-year-old Cailey Fleming of The Walking Dead) takes on the gig of helping these magical imaginary chums find their owners. With the help of her neighbour (an unusually awkward outing from Ryan Reynolds), and a scene-stealing oversized purple creature called Blue (an always terrific, Steve Carell), the trio embark on their nostalgic quest.

At 104-minutes, IFs potential is undeniable. It’s aesthetically arresting and visually spectacular, but the script never lives up to the stature of its dazzling production, with characters treading a lot of the same water throughout the film.

What it lacks in storytelling innovation it makes up for in heart. At its best when it’s intimate and warm, IF is told with good intentions and tender observations, with the core message of finding your inner child shining brightly in each scene.

The cast of captivating characters are complimented with punchy voice performances from Hollywood's finest

The animated and real world constructed by Krasinski mostly succeeds. The highlight of the film is when Bea visits the IFs' retirement home located under a Coney Island carousel. It's here where the enchanting craftsmanship and breathtaking set pieces truly come to life.

The cast of colourful and captivating characters are complimented with punchy voice performances from Hollywood's finest but the sense of wonder gets progressively lost. Cue Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emily Blunt, Sam Rockwell, Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Bradley Cooper to name just a few A-listers. Not to mention, the late and great Louis Gossett Jr. who takes on the role as a wise bear.

Accompanied by a rousing score by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino - plus a snazzy dance set to Tina Turner’s Better Be Good to Me - the movie hits enough of the right notes to make a worthy summer popcorn entry.

IF is a wildly ambitious and wonderfully weird outing but falls short when it comes to being your new movie bestie.

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