Sunday, June 22, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—About Time (2013) ***

R, 123 min.
Director/Writer: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Will Merrick, Vanessa Kirby, Tom Hughes

“About Time” has a right dodgy premise for a British romantic comedy, but its small cast pulls it off with style and grace. It involves an eccentric and reclusive family in which, it is explained by the patriarch to his son on his 21st birthday, all the men have the ability to travel through time. Well, back and forth from present to past, no future travel.

There is no deep science fiction type of meaning behind this ability. It is just a plot device to allow for its hero to redo awkward situations and create some dilemma’s of a different nature than you usually find in a romantic comedy. The hero is played by the awkwardly charming Domhnall Gleeson, an actor whose name promises to confound American audiences as much as his likeability is to make him the next big British rom com star. Look out Hugh Grant.

He’s paired with the equally charming Rachel McAdams, an American he meets at one of those total darkness restaurants. Well, that’s where he meets her originally, but since he goes back in time to help one of his relatives have a smash opening night for his new play on that same evening, she doesn’t meet him until a week later when he finally gets his chance to fix the fact that he never met her the first time he met her. Doesn’t that make it sound oh so confusing? However, writer/director Richard Curtis’s screenplay is hardly confusing. He does a wonderful job of keeping the timeline clear, despite its multiple starts and do overs.

There’s nothing extremely remarkable about this particular rom com beyond it’s unusual set up. It’s sweet and warm hearted, as Curtis’s rom coms usually are. The cast is well crafted and it’s all a rather pleasant time to spend with a loved one. Harmless, funny, touching, not your normal descriptors for a time traveling movie, but they do quite well for a romantic comedy.

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