Time to talk about ‘About Time’ (2013).

6 Sep

About Time posterMuch like 2007’s Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2013’s About Time takes two genres that seemingly have nothing in common with one another and splices them together for the sake of originality. The amalgamation of romantic comedy with science fiction is aimed squarely at entertaining both the traditionally female rom-com fanbase as well as their legions of reluctant male company, but don’t be fooled: this movie is far closer to something like Love, Actually than say Looper or 12 Monkeys.

Richard Curtis (who has worked on the majority of British rom-coms of recent years) returns with another tale of hapless romance, moral quandaries and wealthy people with problems. Though this time there’s time travel! Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim, a shy guy who’s about as successful with women as he is in maintaining a decent haircut. Once his dad (Bill Nighy) informs him of a certain familial secret, his life is turned upside-down as he tries to balance using his “powers” for good while also serving his own interests in the relationship department.

What I like most about this movie is that, for the most part, balances the ‘rom’ with the ‘com’ quite well. For the first half of the movie, the two are seamless: as Tim’s hopelessly awkward attempts at romance prove futile, so they inspire fairly consistent laughter from the audience. But by the second and third acts, and especially towards the end, the humour beings to alternate between Curtis’ trademark brand of dramatic hoopla and funny scenes as opposed to weaving them together, and the switch can be rather jarring.

As with most romantic comedies, the result is notably cheesy and hokey, and will doubtless prove too saccharine for many to stomach. Though I have a fairly low tolerance when it comes to these movies, this particular one never made me as queasy as typical romantic comedies tend to do.  As with any movie featuring time-travel, logical inconsistencies abound (a plot twist involving babies makes absolutely no sense), but these are to be expected.

On the Venn diagrams of potential movie lovers, one would think there would be little intersection between the groups that love time-travelling science fiction and those that enjoy hokey romantic comedies. But About Time achieves what it set out to accomplish; it’s a quirky and funny if extremely forgettable Richard Curtis movie about white people and their problems. But if that’s your thing, you might love it, actually.

Simon says: It’s not even about time… It’s about MELODRAMA.


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