Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 2 hours 3 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Language and some Sexual Content
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Written by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson & Lindsay Duncan
ABOUT TIME is a charming romantic comedy with a science-fiction premise. There is something inherently charming and entertaining about the film, but it some problems bring it down significantly as a whole. Take into account that this could be the definition of a chick flick, which is what the advertising might lead many to believe. That description should pretty much tell you if this movie is suited towards your cinematic taste.
Tim is an awkward, hopeless romantic. It is on the dawn of a bright new year that Tim’s father calls him into the study for a serious discussion, breaking a family secret to him. All of the males in Tim’s family can travel through time, but it can only be at one point in their past and there are a few complications. Tim is told to use it as he wishes to make his life the way he wants it to be. So when he spots Mary, it’s love at first sight between the two of them. Tim won’t let a relatively little thing like time stand in his way from winning her heart.
That’s pretty much all I care to give away about the plot, because there are a few unexpected twists along the way. Ironically, it is here where the movie has some holes in it’s somewhat flimsy script. There’s something whimsical in ABOUT TIME and this is mostly brought out in the former half, when Tim is trying out his powers and using them to his advantage. When the movie takes a bit of a depressing turn as Tim tries to help those around him, it gets a bit complicated and points out some set-in-stone rules about the time travel. However, these rules are forgotten in the blink of an eye, when it’s convenient to forward the plot.
This is where another problem with ABOUT TIME surfaces. As a film, it’s far too long. It feels like there could have been a good 20 or 30 minutes trimmed out and it would have made for a much tighter, far more enjoyable motion picture. Again, the first half of the film is the better half, because it was moving at a steady pace and had enough content in it to keep the viewer intrigued.
Domhnall Gleeson (son of Brendan Gleeson) and Rachel McAdams are convincing enough as a young couple madly in love with each other. The stand out is Bill Nighy though, as Tim’s eccentric and loving father. The supporting characters are also more than just cardboard cutouts, including Tim’s nature-loving sister and a struggling foul-mouthed playwright roommate.
If it weren’t for four F-bombs (one above the regulated three F-bomb PG-13 limit) and a picture of a topless woman that’s shown for one brief second, this movie would have been a PG-13 chick flick and currently be banking at the box office (the theater I saw it in had about seven patrons, including myself). If the film’s logic didn’t eat itself by the end of the film, then I’d feel comfortable saying that this could be a smart romance that should be a giant box office success. It’s not a bad movie by any means and shouldn’t be failing as hard as it currently is stateside.
Finally, the film has an at-times blatantly manipulative soundtrack in both the song choice and music. This is more of a nitpick, but when the soundtrack is actually taking the viewer out of the film, it’s a problem. I can’t kick ABOUT TIME too hard though. It’s got a fair share of tender moments and the film never screws anything up beyond repair, but there are some annoying plot holes and the pacing lags in the latter half. It’s a sweet, charming bit of romance that tries to be smarter than your average chick flick. ABOUT TIME is a good date movie, but that’s about all it is. Take that as you will.