About Time Movie Review
As a single man who, from self observation, appears to have the worst dating record in the history of the world, the idea of traveling back in time to redo one of the many times I said the wrong thing, made the wrong decision or hit on the blonde instead of the brunette is appealing. Richard Curtis, the writer of Love Actually, Notting Hill and a bunch of other guy-safe romantic comedies, apparently read my mind.
About Time is about a soulless ginger named Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) who doesn't have much luck with the ladies either - at least until his father (Bill Nighy) informs him that all the men in their family can travel through time. Jump ahead a few years and he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), who is the perfect girl (because she's Rachel McAdams). The rest of the movie unfolds from there.
Like many of Richard Curtis's other films, About Time balances comedy, romance and drama well, at least for a while. It has some legitimately funny moments and the interactions between Gleeson and McAdams are fun to watch. The two actors have great chemistry together, one of the most important elements of any on-screen romantic couples.
The movie falters in the third act, however, when Curtis moves the story squarely into the drama genre. While some funny moments still exist, About Time takes a somber turn that fits within the scheme of the story and concept (even with time travel, you can't make everything perfect) but struggles to maintain the same entertainment value as the rest of the movie.
Bottom line: when a movie begins as a comedy, it's hard to end as a drama.
The change in tone isn't the real problem, however; About Time loses its way for a while as it makes the transition. The pacing screeches to a halt, very little happens and audience fidgeting begins. Unfortunately, these problems keep About Time from being another Richard Curtis classic.
Entertaining, funny and romantic, but also tonally challenged and inconsistently paced, About Time is worth seeing, but it's no award winner. That won't stop me from ducking into dark closets, clenching my fists and hoping I can go back in time to fix my prior dating wrongs.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.