Comedy Oddities: Timer

timer indexJac Schaeffer is currently wowing audiences with her Marvel tv series Wandavision and due to that when I heard about the fantasy comedy drama she created back in 2009 I rushed to watch it. Starring Emma Caulfield Ford (Anya of Buffy fame, and also Wandavision), she plays Oona O’Leary, who we learn is unlucky in love and she knows this for certain as the technology exists to tell people when they’ll meet their soulmates, at least if they both have it implanted, and Oona’s is initially blank as either she’ll never find love or her beau to be hasn’t got a timer currently.

Oona’s misery is made worse by her much younger brother getting a timer implanted on his birthday and discovering that he will meet the love of his life in just a couple of days time, though at least her step-sister Steph (Michelle Borth) has another 5,262 days to wait until she’ll meet hers. Then when supermarket clerk Mikey (John Patrick Amedori) hits on her Oona initially thinks they’re not to be as he’ll supposedly meet his soulmate in four months time, but then after a chance meeting the two end up in bed together.

A rather clunky and heavy handed affair which attempts to question the nature of love, and whether it’s something that can be predicted, this even goes as far to suggest that this is a world where you only fall in love the once. The absurdity of such an idea is briefly questioned but then forgotten about, and a rather frustrating will they / won’t they piece plays out as Oona believes in the timers and is frustrated that Mikey’s doesn’t match hers, and becomes even more annoyed when his turns out to be fake and that he doesn’t believe in the technology. Meanwhile Steph flirts with Dan (appalling Dexter actor Desmond Harrington) and we meet the object of Jesse’s affections who turns out to be the daughter of Oona and Steph’s mothers maid, and these romances slowly play out over the course of the movie.

Slowly’s probably being kind too, it’s a film which starts well and sets up its unusual premise in a fun and delightful manner, and the unusual nature of Oona and Mikey’s age difference relationship is portrayed in an amusing way, at least until the inevitable break up. After that it becomes something of a slog with the film trying to have lots of cakes and eating them over and over again as they split up twice, and to make matters even more contrived Oona and Dan’s timers suggest that they’re soulmates, much to the horror of all involved.

A romcom which has some decent dialogue and performances, if it had been half an hour shorter, or if the mid section had been less bland and annoying, then this might have been fairly entertaining. But with half an hour ago I found myself struggling with the movie and constantly looking at how long it had to go, and when it finally reaches its destination it has nothing interesting to say at all, with the final couple of minutes actively annoying me, to such an extent that I really wish I hadn’t bothered watching it now.

★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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