Movie Review: About Time
I’m a big fan of time-travel romantic comedies starring Rachel McAdams, so I figured About Time would be spot-on for me. I settled in with a giant bucket of popcorn and some Whoppers and thought about how much I would have to work out to negate these food choices. I then proceeded to eat everything anyway while sitting for a little over two hours and getting confused about the intent of the movie. For the first half, I saw it as a romantic comedy—filled with chuckles and time travel, I was along for the ride. And then it switched over to a family-oriented drama (with some comedy thrown in) that covers everything from addiction to illness.
That’s not to say I didn’t like it—Bill Nighy embodies a character that (almost) rivals his character in Love Actually, and if you read my feature on it you’ll know that’s a big compliment in my book. No surprise, since director Richard Curtis also directed Love Actually. The movie embraces the quirky nature of its main family and tugs at your heartstrings; I was crying more than my normal amount in the theater. But what would have made this movie even better is more of a focus, a center around which the movie could revolve. Right now, that’s main character Tim, but for me, it wasn’t quite enough; I was too distracted by what I thought the movie was going to be. Maybe that’s my bad. Worth a see, though, because what it does, it does well. Really well.
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
What to bring: Tissues, lots of them
How many times this movie will be compared to Love Actually: 1 million
How this movie compares to Love Actually: A friend, just a slightly less popular one
There are enough plot holes in the time-travel sections of the plot to make Marty McFly disappear ten-thousand times, but this movie is likable and warm enough to be forgiven for it. This is a very enjoyable, well acted film about familial love that happens to have a fun time travelling element that it sort of half-asses (Primer, this is not). And to repeat: this is a movie about familial love and making the most of life. All the trailers and ads want you to believe this is a film about the romance of Rachel McAdams and Ugly British Guy --probably because everyone in the world loves Rachel McAdams and she just can't stop falling in love (or of out of love, in Owen Wilson's case) with time time travellers-- but like everything else in trailers, it's A BIG FAT LIE.
Their entire courtship takes about two minutes on screen and then they have the most perfect relationship ever for the rest of the film. It's too bad because their meet-cute is charming and uses the time-rewinding gimmick well. You might suspect that the movie is just 90 minutes of Tim making love to Rachel McAdams, then using his rewinding powers to start over again, over and over like that, for infinity and then the movie ends, but strangely this movie is packed with a whole lot of other stuff too.We meet everyone in Tim's life: his first crush, his eccentric playwright roommate, loopy sister, dumb friend, dorky coworker etc. Some of it works, some of it feels like Richard Curtis wanted to give an acting job to an out-of-work friend. It's a messy, big movie with grand conclusions about love and life that are easy to mock, but it's so guileless and so good-hearted that by the end of the movie, I stopped my mental list of all the idiotic ways Tim misuses his time travel powers (and there are a lot of them).
Stars: 4 out of 5
How does it compare to other time travel romances?
Worse than: Groundhog Day (available to stream for free with ads on Crackle)
Better than: The Lake House