IF fans hit back at critics as John Krasinski’s Ryan Reynolds film gets damning Rotten Tomatoes score

Fans of John Krasinski’s family-friendly blockbuster IF have defended the film amid a slew of negative reviews from critics.

The film, directed by The Office (US) star Krasinski and starring himself, Ryan Reynolds, Cailey Fleming and Steve Carell, is set in a world in which imaginary friends are real and visible to others.

Released in cinemas on Friday (17 May), IF has been poorly reviewed by critics, earning a “Rotten” score of just 51 per cent (at time of writing) on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.

In a two-star review for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “IF is a story about discarded imaginary friends, who seek a new purpose with the help of Ryan Reynolds in suspenders. Krasinski wanted to make something for his own kids, whose imaginations he feared had been stunted over the Covid lockdown.

“It’s intended to be disarmingly sincere – yet the director-writer-actor is so single-mindedly intent on delivering ‘wonder’ that what he’s ended up with isn’t so much a film but a series of emotional cues. It’s the same experience, really, as sitting down to watch an hour-and-a-half video loop of dogs being adopted.”

While a number of other major outlets also gave the film a negative review, many cinemagoers have shared positive appraisals of the film in the wake of its release.

“Just watched Ryan Reynolds new film IF…. Bro I was not prepared to cry!!” one person wrote. “If I watched it by myself I would’ve cried harder… god it was such a good movie with a message I really needed. Don’t grow up too fast and take a breath. Slow down and breathe… kids movie my ass.”

Reynolds and Fleming in ‘IF’ (Paramount)
Reynolds and Fleming in ‘IF’ (Paramount)

“I had no idea what doew [sic] the Rotten Tomatoes critics expected about this film.... IT’S BEAUTIFUL!!!! One [of] the best movies of the year!! Bring tissues, you’ll cry,” another enthused.

“John Krasinski’s IF pulls off a minor miracle in that it is absolutely godawful for the first 45 minutes and still becomes a pretty good movie by the end,” someone else claimed.

IF marks Krasinski’s first foray into the family genre as a director. The 44-year-old’s previous efforts include the 2009 David Foster Wallace adaptation Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, the 2016 comedy The Hollars, the 2018 action horror A Quiet Place, and its 2020 sequel A Quiet Place Part II.

A third Quiet Place film, prequel A Quiet Place: Day One, is set to debut in cinemas next month. Krasinski serves as a producer on the film, but is not returning to direct or star in it.