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