Friday, May 24, 2024


IF is an uneven, if sometimes quite charming, family film centered around 12 year-old Bea (Cailey Fleming) who discovers imaginary friends are real while staying with her grandmother (Fiona Shaw) after her father (John Krasinski) is hospitalized in need of surgery. The imaginary world is shown to Bea through Cal (Ryan Reynolds) who is sort of the self-appointed agent for the imaginary friends (called "IFs" for short) attempting to unite those who have been forgotten with new children.

There are quite a few of interesting pieces here, although the film does become a bit much in some of them (such as the crazier IFs and the level of wackiness of Bea's father which highlights her family's imagination but also makes you wonder if the entire family may be suffering from some level of dementia more than once over course of the movie). There are also certainly some plot holes such as why is the abandoned amusement park where the IFs live in perfect condition and how do the IFs effect the world?

Mirroring the rest of the film, the IFs themselves are a mixed bunch. We spend the most time with the large furry purple monster named Blue (Steve Carell) while getting less interactions with several of the others. Signing up to help the IFs get new homes, and distract herself from her father's hospitalization, Bea discovers just how hard a job that is and thinks of a new plan about reuniting the IFs with the grown children who created them. This sequence, and the one directly following with the real world crashing in on imaginary magic, produce the strongest scenes of the film.

For all its wonder, the problem IF has is the between the fun, and a pair of genuinely moving scenes, there's quite a bit of filler. When the film leads with its heart rather than crazy antics it may be schmaltzy but it's can also be endearing. If only those sequences weren't so far apart. Seeing the film in the theater, I couldn't help but desire a fast-forward button on multiple occasions suggesting this is a film which will be far more at home on home video. All of that said, the film still has a couple genuine movie magic moments that do make it a marginal recommendation.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: IF
  • IMDb: link

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