I feel like plenty guys wish they could time travel, but only so they could bang the same hot girl, again and again.
Right as soon as Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turns the ripe age of 21, his father (Bill Nighy) lets him in on a little family secret: They can now both time travel. Of course, there are some rules; ones like not being able to travel to the future, only to places in time you’ve been to, and only that the males can perform this act. But regardless, it’s time travel, so take advantage of it while you can, right? Well, that is exactly what Tim does, but mostly so that he can pick up chicks and hopefully meet the love of his life, which he does do, and many of times too, with Mary (Rachel McAdams). Together, they build a relationship that Tim makes sure actually happens and stays put, but what he’s about to be awoken with is the fact that life shouldn’t always be re-played, over and over again. Sometimes you just have to live it the way it was meant to be lived, or else sometimes, bad things happen to the ones you love.
Since it seems like most rom-coms have been getting pretty stale as of late, it makes sense to throw the idea of time travel in there to spice things up, right? Well, yeah, because honestly, who doesn’t like a to manipulate time whenever they see fit? Especially when whomever it is that you’re manipulating time for just so happens to be Rachel McAdams, you know? So yeah, it’s definitely an inspired idea on the part of Richard Curtis, and one that he surprisingly sticks with for a good portion of the movie.
What this flick does so well with its idea for the first 30-45 minutes or so, is that it actually sticks to the ground-rules it lays down and also has a bit of fun with them as well. Any guy that sees this movie (seeing as that the only way that they would go is if they got roped into seeing this with their spouse or significant-other), will probably be able to relate to Tim right off the bat because he does everything with the time travel ability, that every dude would do. He goes out to meet women, and if he fails at making an impression on them, he takes notice of what he failed at, goes back in time, tries it again, and sees what can happen with this new approach. This goes on for quite some time and it was fun to watch, while also being quite humorous since it seemed like it had this honest-take on what lies within female, and male attraction, and what dudes will do to win their “dream girl”.
Eventually though, the whole romantic aspect of this movie does pillow in, and even then, the movie was still working and having fun with itself, if instead, this time, in a more “cute” way. Tim and Mary do make an appealing couple, especially since they both seem to ACTUALLY like one another, which makes it easy for us to want to see them happy, together, and always remaining in love. It’s very hard for most rom-coms out there to make us actually believe in the couple without having to make us see why they are perfect for one another, but this film somehow achieves that goal. They aren’t each other’s soul-mates, however, they work well for the other and keep one another happy. That in and of itself, made me, the cynic, happy, so yes, it’s safe to say that this movie’s magic was working on me.
And then, somewhere right slap-dab in the middle, the movie changes from being a rom-com, to a very dramatic, very sentimental movie about the sake of family and why it’s so important. And in case you couldn’t tell just by how dramatic I’m making this seem already, this is exactly where the movie began to lose me.
Not only did the movie begin to lose me because the edge of what made the first-half of the movie so honest and hilarious in its own sly, British way, but because Curtis begins to betray his own idea that seemed so key in making the film appealing in the first place. People who aren’t supposed to be involved with the time travel, all of a sudden have the ability to and are able to do it as easy as 1, 2, 3.; and terrible stuff that is supposed to happen due to time itself being tampered with, somehow doesn’t happen or seemed to be affected in the least bit. Everything just sort of stays the same, without any real effect or punishment.
But this is where I began to realize that not only did Curtis seem to be slipping up on the idea of time travel, and how to use it in a smart, well-done way that worked for the heavy-thinkers and regular-viewers abound, but he didn’t even seem too interested with it anymore either. In a way, dare I say it, Curtis was just using the time travel as a crutch for when he really wanted us to cry or soak in a puddle of our own tears, or simply, when he ran out of well-written ways to make us feel emotional. This is also where the character of Mary sort of gets thrown to the background, and Tim’s dad comes more into play, which was all fine because Bill Nighy’s an awesome presence to have in any movie, but it felt like a sudden-switch that wasn’t deserved for many reasons; the main which being that it just didn’t make sense.
Yes, maybe that’s just me picking it apart a tad too much, but I still feel like they would have had some really good material if they just stuck to their guns and cut-down the running-time. I mean, seriously: a 2-hour rom-com is enough as it is, but a 2-hour romance-movie where one-half is a rom-com, and the other is a family-drama? Yeah, you just about lost me about 50-minutes in, which sadly, is true.
Men, word of the wise, just stick around and seem interested if your lady promises you “something special” by the end of the night. Only reason why you should stay and hold your hand under your chin.
Keeping this ship afloat, even when it seems to be cruising without him, is Domhnall Gleeson who really feels like the perfect male-lead in a rom-com like this. Not only is he a ginger, but he’s a self-deprecating one that’s easy to feel sorry for, and even hate when he makes a bone-headed move. However, you always like him because he’s a lovable guy with his heart in the right place and you know that, no matter where his life takes him, he will always strive to make those around him happy, pleasant, and want to keep on living life just as much as he wants to. Gleeson definitely isn’t a big name for anybody outside of London, but I feel like if this movie gets a big enough audience, then he may be somewhat of a name to look out for here in the States. Only time will tell on that. That was sort of a pun, by the way.
Somebody who is a big name in the States, and probably in London, is Rachel McAdams who feels like she’s in her comfort-zone playing the meek, quiet, and sincere Mary, which is okay and all, but it also does feel like a bit of a waste of a very good talent who can do so much more with a character when she’s given the opportunity to. But I guess, for now, McAdams will stick with these sappy, melodramatic romance movies so that she can get a big enough paycheck and do something daring with her career. I don’t know, something like, say, Passion? Okay, bad choice. Never mind. Just stick with what you’re good with gal.
And of course Bill Nighy’s in this, stealing the show like usual. Not much more needs to be said about that guy other than the fact that I am just happy to see him doing more and more stuff to make us audiences happy. Keep it going, Bill!
Consensus: As soon as About Time begins, it is inspired, determined, smart, funny and faithful to its idea, but then soon begins to escalate into melodramatic, over-familiar trappings of what can easily make any audience member cry their eyes out, even if it doesn’t make much sense as to how they got there in the first place. In other words, it doesn’t make sense.
5.5 / 10 = Rental!!