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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > TiMER

MOVIE REVIEWS

TIMER (2010)

Starring Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth, John Patrick Amedori, JoBeth Williams, Desmond Harrington, Tom Irwin, Hayden McFarland, Mark Harelik, Kali Rocha, Cristina Cimellaro, Eric Jungmann, Scott Holroyd, Bianca Brockl and Muse Watson.

Screenplay by Jac Schaeffer.

Directed by Jac Schaeffer.

Distributed by Present Pictures.  99 minutes.  Rated R.

 

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TiMER

The question of whether or not there is any scientific method to the apparent madness of love, sex and romance has been debated for eons - even though the answer is still vague at best.

There is no real reason to believe something as mercurial and apparently random as love could be harnessed in statistics, flow charts and algorithms.  That does not stop people from trying, though.

TiMER takes place in an alternate reality where all the guesswork is taken out of true love.  Scientists are able to create and market the title gizmo - an LED strip attached to the human wrist that will pinpoint the exact moment when you are to meet your soulmate.

Of course, this does not take into account a lot of variables that are only partially touched upon here: Is it possible for a person to have more than one soulmate?  What if one's soulmate dies, are they doomed to an empty, loveless life?  What if the soulmate does not have the TiMER, are both of them going to die alone?  What are the TiMER's views on gay marriage?  Has the TiMER ever been wrong?  How does the TiMER know the exact time of the meeting?  For that matter, how does it know the exact person? 

That's an awful lot of questions for a sweet-but-slight truffle like this.

After all, without the vague sci-fi trappings of the central conceit, this is a pretty standard story of an aging single woman desperately looking for love and another one desperately avoiding it. 

These women are Oona (Emma Caulfield of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Steph (Michelle Borth), who are step-sisters who both have the TiMER.  Oona is a dentist whose strip has not started counting down yet, suggesting that her true soulmate still hasn't gotten the device.  Therefore, she makes it a ritual to bring new dates to get the TiMER, so that she will know from the very start whether there is any point in taking the relationship any further.  Steph is a gorgeous fuck-up who works both as a bartender and as a receptionist at an old age home.  Her D-Day for love is sooo far in the future that she has taken it as a sign to be as promiscuous as she can for as long as she wants before having to settle down.

In the meantime, both women and their 14-year-old brother are pressured to find their true love by their chirpy-but-overbearing mother (and step-mother).  It is really nice to see wonderful 80s actress JoBeth Williams getting a big, important role like this again in film, even if her character is somewhat clichéd, seriously deluded and frankly kind of annoying.  However, Williams does her best to give the woman nuance and likability, and is mostly successful.

The complication comes when both women meet men who are very unlikely for them - and both are not their timer mate.  Oona's guy is a younger drummer who is due to meet someone - someone else - in a mere few months.  Oona has previously always refused to get at all involved with guys she knew had no future, but she finds herself being pulled to him despite herself.  Meanwhile Steph meets a nice, slightly melancholy young widower who does not have the TiMER because he believes he has already met his one true love and lost her.  Steph normally wouldn't give a nice guy like him a chance, but eventually she comes to truly appreciate his kindness and his obvious deep love for his late wife.

So, do the sisters follow their heart for love or do they believe technology?

In the end, TiMER goes a little off the grid by setting up this showdown between the will of the heart and science.  Whether the final answer it comes up with is satisfying or merely a bit cynical, I'll leave it up to you to decide.  Personally, I found the climax a bit disturbing, but others may find it liberating and exhilarating. 

That is the point, I would imagine - to divide the audience and provoke discussion.

Of course, I guess there is a question as to whether such an otherwise lightweight romantic comedy is really benefited by such a sociological debate at its core.  Or, indeed, am I taking this obviously fanciful parody way too seriously?  

If nothing else, TiMER certainly gives you more to mull over than most romantic comedies.

Then again, many other romantic comedies are more humorous than this consistently amusing, but never really what you could call a funny film.  Most rom coms are also by nature simply more romantic. 

So, I guess you take out of TiMER what you bring in.  Your ultimate reaction will probably depend on whether you are a hopeless romantic or rather cynical about love.

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 23, 2010.

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Copyright ©2010  PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 23, 2010.