HOLLYWOOD—It is chatter that I believe every kid endures at some point in their lives. I’m referring to having an ‘Imaginary Friend.’ It might be invisible (in most cases it is) or it could be a stuffed animal, see the movie “Imaginary” which is not child friendly at all. However, director, writer and actor John Krasinski brings a new take on imaginary friend with the movie “IF.” If you’re asking me what “IF” means its ‘Imaginary Friend.’

Krasinski has shown his directorial chops with the thriller “A Quiet Place” that was a box-office hit. However, “IF” is not what you expect. I had expectations going into this movie and it was nothing like I thought. I expected plenty of laughter and entertainment for kids. This is not that movie at all, and parents have to be fully aware of that if they are planning to take their children to see this film.

“IF” stars Cailey Fleming as Bea, a 12-year-old girl who is struggling at the moment as her father, portrayed by John Krasinski is suffering from a serious heart injury. Hate to say this, but “IF” is a heavy movie. Why can I say that? Bea is still dealing with the loss of her mother years earlier to cancer. Yes, plenty of youngsters may have a difficult time grasping the heavy themes of death and loss for a movie of this caliber. That might explain the PG rating compared to typical G-rating for many kids flicks.

With that said, as Bea is visiting her father at the hospital, while staying with her Grandma Margaret (Fiona Shaw), she stumbles upon some mysterious creatures she can see. Yes, you have animation intertwined with live action. That is something I always have difficulty with because live-action flicks that are based on animated movies don’t always excel. It is very difficult to mesh both of those worlds where it doesn’t appear too convoluted to be honest.

It is during this mystery that Bea comes face-to-face with Cal (Ryan Reynolds), in a goofier than normal role for the actor, that I didn’t find as hilarious. That is the biggest issue with “IF”, the things that the writers expected to be funny are not all that funny at all. To be honest, I don’t think I laughed a single time watching this movie, and I wanted laughter, but I got emotion and it really tears at the heart, especially towards the end of the movie, as our “IFs” and there are plenty of them including Blue (voice of Steve Carell, Blossom voice of Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Lewis (voice of Louis Gossett Jr.), Uni (voice of Emily Blunt), Spaceman (voice of George Clooney), Ice (voice of Bradley Cooper) and many more, some voiced by some other A-list actors.

Are there characters that are unique and fun? To a degree, but the big standouts are Blue and Blossom, with the others being there. At its core, “IF” is a movie that reminds us we tend to venture off into a fantasy world whenever we are dealing with tough situations in life, and we see that with a young girl, who tries to be older than what she should be. Yeah, that is something I have heard time and time again, act your age and don’t be so quick to grow up so fast because once you’re an adult there is no going back. You can try, but you can’t, which is something Bea learns over the course of the movie.

Be aware that if the adults are seeing the movie “IF” you are going to understand what is happening a lot more than your kids. And if you’re taking the kids, be aware you might have to explain a few things and have conversations with your kids about what is going on.