WHAT/IF from 2019 and now on Netflix again gets most attention for the duel between two powerful and unpleasant women. Renée Zellweger plays a woman who has risen from nothing to become powerful, rich and ruthless. Jane Levy plays a brilliant medical researcher whose discovery can change the world. But she needs cash, so the older woman pays $20 million to sleep with the younger woman’s husband for one night!
Since the husband is the pretty bland Blake Jenner, it seems as though the older woman will crush everything in reach. Which is fun to watch – to a point – as you can predict the ending long before it gets there.
Two other stories are intertwined. The husband’s best friend’s wife is sleeping with the chief doctor at her hospital and has discovered she is pregnant. Again, standard stuff. (Although death by bear trap is pretty great.)
But what most intrigued was the story line of the younger woman’s gay ‘brother’ who has a secret of his own, and Juan Castano dazzles as a lovely, neurotic lawyer with a heart of gold, whose husband (John Clarence Stewart) is terrific. But a beautiful stripper (Derek Smith) the men share changes their lives, and I found this story line fascinating and rewarding.
Ensemble stories are tricky, especially when you are only really into 1/3 of them. The two female leads have gone on to much higher profile projects which will allow them to create more nuanced characters.