Imagine if you will, an ordinary man, just like any other man. He has hopes and dreams. Wants and needs. What he doesn’t know, is that his 21st birthday will bring about a conversation with his father that shakes the very fabric of his life.
Altering not only his own life but potentially the lives of others. His new found ability and his search for a girlfriend will thrust him into…About Time.
Despite that Alfred Hitchcock inspired intro, About Time is actually the latest Rachel McAdams romantic comedy. Specifically, it’s a British romantic comedy science fiction film. Didn’t know that specific genre existed? Neither did I really, although in the back of my mind it kind of makes sense, especially since the recent years have brought about the recent resurgence of “Supernatural Romance”. However, let’s not talk about the horrible films put out thanks to that phenomenon, and focus on About Time instead. Which is actually a pretty good romantic comedy!
The short summary of the movie plot I’ll give you in a quick dialogue between the father and son that never really happened.
Dad (played by Bill Nighy): “It is Marcus’ time to reign, not mine! Oops, wrong movie…Happy Birthday son! Now that you’re 21 you should know that with great power comes great responsibility. Oh, and oh yeah, you can travel through time if you go hide in a dark place like an emo kid and wish you could go back in time to change something. Except, without all of the self loathing and bandages…and also you’ll actually get to go back and change things. Lucky you!”
Son aka Tim (played by Dohmnall Gleeson, no relation to Jackie Gleason especially since their names are spelled differently): “I say old man, stop taking the mick. Oh wait, you’re totally cereal?”
Dad: “I’m SUPER cereal!”
Tim: “Well then, I’m conveniently somehow a ginger genetic jackpot because I’m good looking, intelligent, funny in that witty self deprecating adorable awkward British way, and a lawyer. Since that’s all taken care of, I think I’ll just try and find a lady friend to love and pet and call George.”
Dad: “Brilliant! You can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy. You know, any of that butterfly effect stuff anyway. Small little personal shit is the way to go. There are some key parts that I will forget to tell you about that you probably should know now, but then if I did we wouldn’t have all of these dramatic moments in the movie to buffer the uncomfortable close ups of the goo goo eyes you and Rachel McAdams make at each other.”
Dad: “Nevermind that last bit, care for some ping pong?”
The rest of the movie is filled with typical romantic comedy moments, sprinkled with some British wit and plenty of generic advice about enjoying life and living it to its fullest.
However, unlike most romantic comedy drivel that you see on screen, I actually really enjoyed this movie. It had genuinely funny laugh out loud moments sprinkled in with slapstick comedy, interesting characters and decent acting. Could it be that the days of putting a Charlize Theron/Keanu Reeves movie on mute so you can enjoy the pretty are over? Perhaps, but I’m not holding my breath just yet.
The all important question, at least for me, is would I pay to see it at full price? For me, the answer in regards to romantic comedies is whether or not I feel like my ovaries betrayed my brain. During the credits am I crying because it was so beautiful and touching, or am I crying because I’ve wasted $10 filling my mind with more Hollywood romance cookie cutter rubbish. While I did shed a tear or two at a moment here or there during the movie overall I laughed way more than I cried. As the credits rolled on, I discovered that I really enjoyed the movie, and not in that guilty pleasure kind of way. So for me, the answer is yes, I would pay full price for the movie.
Luckily, I got to watch a free pre-screener and hindsight is 20-20, but you don’t have to take my word for it.
In theaters, November 8th. Watch the trailer here.