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Popcorn Preview: About Time

10/31/2013 05:14 pm ET | Updated Dec 31, 2013

Film: About Time (2013)
Cast includes: Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes), Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Lydia Wilson (Never Let Me Go), Lindsay Duncan (Under the Tuscan Sun), Tom Hollander (Gosford Park), Margot Robbie (I.C.U.)
Writer/Director: Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Bridget Jones's Diary)
Genre: Comedy | Romance | Fantasy (123 minutes)

"I always knew we were an odd family," Tim tells us. "There was me... too tall, too skinny and too orange..." He then describes Mom, Dad, Uncle Desmond and his sister Kit Kat... "the most wonderful thing in the world." Tim loves some of the family traditions... sandwiches on the beach (no matter what the weather) and dreads others... the New Year's Eve party with those awkward moments. (Holly obviously wants a kiss. Why does he give her a handshake?) "When I woke the next morning, I didn't realize it was the day that would change my life forever." Tim's just turned 21, and it's time for a father/son chat. "The men in out family..." Dad begins. "This is going to seem so weird..." Dad goes on to explain that they have the ability time travel back to earlier moments within their own life. Tim, of course, thinks it's a joke, but he agrees to give it a try... dark place, fists clinched, think of a time and place. Eyes open... it's one minute until midnight. This time he gives Holly a kiss, and she's thrilled.

"It's going to be a complicated year," says Tim. "It's going to be a complicated life," says Dad. "You have to use it for things you really think will change your life." It's not about money... "For me, it was always going to be about love," Tim tells us. First there was Kit Kat's friend Charlotte... drop-dead gorgeous. Over the summer, Tim uses time travel to redo many awkward moments, in order to get Charlotte to fall in love with him. But at the end of the summer, he's gotten something far more valuable... he's now learned that "all the time travel in the world can't make someone love you if they don't." Anyway, he's now off to London to start his career and find true love. It's not a promising start, living with super grumpy Harry and working in an all-male law firm... but eventually he meets Mary, and he knows right away that she's the one. With the help of his special gift, he's able to smooth over some of the near-fatal relationship killers. But there are also unintended consequences of time travel, and Tim has to navigate those, too.

What a gift... being able to fix every mistake. However, Tim eventually learns that he can do even more with his gift. About Time should be required viewing for every holiday moviegoer. With all the dysfunction we regularly encounter, it's lovely to sit back and enjoy 2 hours of unapologetic joy. Under normal circumstances, you couldn't hold an audience's attention for that long without a major conflict. About Time does have some challenging moments, but we're confident everything's going to work out. What holds our attention is the sheer delight in this story and the characters. Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams are absolutely yummy as Tim and Mary. Writer/director Richard Curtis is a master of joyful, upbeat storytelling. By the end of the film, Tim convinces us that his extraordinary life isn't extraordinary because of time travel... although to be honest, it's a nice advantage... but what's extraordinary is the ordinariness of it. It's about relishing "this remarkable ride."

3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
21-year-old Tim learns that he has the ability to time travel and now has to use his gift for the things that matter most in life

Popcorn Profile
Rated: R (Partial nudity, sexual content)
Audience: Young adults
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Mood: Jubilant
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Primary Driver: Plot
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment

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