Subscribe To Netflix's What/If Reviews Are In, Here's What Critics Say About Renée Zellweger's New Drama Updates
Castle Rock’s Jane Levy plays Lisa, a scientist married to Blake Jenner’s Sean, a former baseball player. Lisa is trying to get funding for her med-tech startup company. Enter Renée Zellweger’s Anne, who is willing to do just that with her What/If proposition.
In order to get the money, there is a considerable catch involved. Lisa and Sean have to agree to something huge. Anne will give them cash if she gets to sleep with Sean. Enter the same moral dilemma faced by Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson’s protagonists back in 1993's Indecent Proposal. Critics and the show itself apparently recognize the parallels.
If you have watched your share of 90s films, you know how that sort of deal tends to work out. How did the critics think it worked in the show? Well, this is what they had to say about What/If.
The general consensus is that What/If is a binge-able guilty pleasure. Good news for Netflix and somewhat good news for prospective viewers. Variety’s Daniel D’Addario felt that little about the show worked. However, there is an upside to it. He said:
What/If comes from Revenge creator, Mike Kelley. The ABC soap apparently does not rinse off his follow-up. EW’s Kristen Baldwin gave it a “B,” which is not the worst score ever. She feels like it gets ahead of itself and she references the reliable television measure for when things go too far on TV: jumping the shark. Thank you, Happy Days’ Fonzie.
Like many critics, RogerEbert.com’s Allison Shoemaker was also entertained by What/If’s guilty pleasure sensibility. She stresses that if you enjoy the ingredients that make the show, you should be good to go. There are twists, trysts, and “chaotic” personal lives.
Also getting on the guilty pleasure train when it comes to What/If is TV Insider’s Matt Roush. The critic acknowledges the lack of substance involved. Like any sugary treat, the Netflix series seems designed to bring you back for more, and it succeeds in doing so.
Daily Telegraph’s Ed Power does not mince words when it comes to summing up What/If. He gives it a 3 out of 5, a score that is far from terrible. He also gives a nod to its larger-than-life storyline before also going in for a food analogy, and it pays off.
The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert went right in for what works on What/If and that is Renée Zellweger. Gilbert praises the work that Zellweger does keeping the show from becoming forgettable. All the while, praising Zellweger for elevating the dramatic thriller.
The Guardian’s Stuart Heritage was conflicted over What/If. Finding it challenging to sum up the show’s overall quality, he calls upon the notion of the subgenre known for being so bad it is good. Heritage does not think it ranks as the best of that category though. He says:
Overall, my read is that What/If is a guilty pleasure. So, if you enjoy such series for what they are – an escape -- the new Netflix show could be to your taste. If Mike Kelley has delivered something on the level of Revenge’s first season, it should have staying power.
Of note for fans of Revenge is that What/If’s cast boasts a familiar face on that front. Gabriel Mann, who played Nolan Ross on the ABC sudser, has a role on What/If. Mann recently guest starred on a pivotal episode of NBC’s The Blacklist, so it could be interesting to see what he gets up to in this new thriller.
Part 1 of What/If premieres May 24 on Netflix, alongside a lot of other new content.