IF is A Home Run for John Krasinski and Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming star in Paramount Pictures' "IF."

John Krasinski and Ryan Reynolds team up for IF, a comedy about a young girl who can see everyone’s imaginary friends.

There is a post-credits tag scene. Not so much an extra scene teases a future film in as much as it is a tribute to the late Louis Gossett Jr. as he died in late March 2024.

Krasinski has found ways to scare audiences in the past with A Quiet Place but this time around, he’s making a film that children can see. Maybe not young children because there are some parts of the film that can be rather emotional. The actor makes his life somewhat easier by not having too big of a role to where he can focus on directing. Bea (Cailey Fleming) and upstairs neighbor Cal (Ryan Reynolds) get the bulk of the screen time. Both of them have the same ability in seeing everyone’s IFs. Because of his ability, Cal runs something of a matchmaking service for the IFs. It’s either a good fit or it isn’t. For better or worse, Bea decides to get into the matchmaking business. It gives her something to focus on while her father is in the hospital. Never mind whatever tension there is between Bea and Cal.

Bea is in a position where life is forcing her to grow up too fast. Kids should be kids, right? It’s only after she begins spending the night at her grandmother’s (Fiona Shaw) in which Bea discovers she can see other people’s imaginary friends. The imagination can be pretty powerful and this film shows how it can also be used as a coping mechanism. I personally do not remember having an imaginary friend but thanks to Inside Out, we’ve seen what can happen when kids forget about them–see my interview with Richard Kind.

Outside of the listed cast below, there’s an all-star voice cast throughout the fantasy comedy. I mean, we’re talking about the likes of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Blake Lively, Sam Rockwell, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Cooper, Christopher Meloni, Keegan-Michael Key, Amy Schumer, and more. I’m honestly impressed that they managed to get Clooney and Damon. One doesn’t necessarily think about them as being voice actors but here we are. It’s a nice mix between comedy types and Oscar-caliber talent. There are some other names but I’ll let them remain as surprises for the audience. For fans of The Office, the film reunites Krasinski and Steve Carell. Carell voices Blue, one of the first IFs to appear on the screen.

L-R, Christopher Meloni (Cosmo), Ryan Reynolds (Cal), Cailey Fleming (Bea) and Louis Gossett Jr. (Lewis) star in Paramount Pictures' "IF."
L-R, Christopher Meloni (Cosmo), Ryan Reynolds (Cal), Cailey Fleming (Bea) and Louis Gossett Jr. (Lewis) star in Paramount Pictures’ “IF.”

Steven Spielberg’s longtime cinematographer Janusz Kamiński handles cinematography duties. It feels like a big coup for Krasinski to land the Oscar-winning DP but Kamiński rises up to the challenge. After all, this is a film that mixes live-action with CGI characters. Obviously, this is not an easy feat when it comes to lighting but the overall results are impressive. Elsewhere behind the camera, Michael Giacchino handles the film’s score and yes, they list the orchestra during the credits. An Oscar winner for his work on UP, he is no stranger to scoring films that make us cry and laugh so the composer is perfect for the film.

Given that the film is about imaginary friends, there is a nice homage to the James Stewart-starring Harvey. While it feels like a predictable easter egg, it’s the thought that counts. The films couldn’t be more different but time will tell if IF becomes a timeless classic like Harvey.

Nearly five years after it was first announced, IF is another home run for both John Krasinski and Ryan Reynolds. For a pair of filmmakers that wanted to make a film that felt like a live-action Pixar film, they certainly pulled it off because IF has the right balance of comedy, fantasy, and the all-too-important emotional touch.

CAST: Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Cailey Fleming, Fiona Shaw, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., Alan Kim, Liza Colón-Zayas, and Steve Carell

Paramount Pictures will release IF in theaters on May 17, 2025. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.