About Time

About Time November 9, 2013

About Time – Written and Directed by Richard Curtis; Starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Domhnall Gleeson, Lindsay Duncan; Rated R for some profanity.

Not quite sure what this film was, but it has some charm in a messy, illogical, meandering kind of way. It isn’t funny enough to be a comedy, and lacks the real life and death stakes of a good drama. But it has that British longing for true love thing and moments of their trademark quirky ensemble pieces. This is one of those hopelessly messed up scripts that was salvaged by some great actors, namely Bill Nighy as the Dad, and Rachel McAdams as the wife. The lead guy, Gleeson, was okay, but it felt too much like he was channeling Hugh Grant as the awkward cute guy with floppy hair.

The premise is GroundHog Day meets any other not really funny British ensemble comedy. You can’t think too much about the central premise as it is ridiculously contrived and, sloppily, the rules of the arena change as the movie goes ahead. The idea is just to sit back and enjoy Britiah actors acting pained and awkward, backgrounded by fleeting glimpses of the British coastline and London streets. (There is one nightmarish glimpse of British healthcare, in which the Rachel McAdams character is recovering from childbirth in a ward literally stuffed with other women, guests and nurses. It sent a shiver up my spine as a visual prophecy of the downgrade in care that will be coming to America via socialized medicine.)

There’s some really nice family stuff in the piece. Beautiful father and son relationship and, then, a couple of faithful and committed, happy marriages.

We enjoyed it more than it deserved mainly because it wasn’t a loud, over-produced comic book serial. It really shouldn’t be rated R. Maybe it got that rating for a few “F” words, but the content was nowhere near as problematic as I had prepared myself for. I enjoyed it, but, can’t see me sitting though it again.

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