TiMER (2009)

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IMDb Rating
6.6 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

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(Based on 0 Ratings)
MPAA Rating:
R for language.
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Jac Schaeffer
Jac Schaeffer (written by)

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on June 16th, 2010

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In its own quiet, gentle way, TiMER manages to more successfully raise and explore its Big Questions than the recent downer, Splice. Whereas Splice was a sci-fi thriller centered on the moral implications of genetic engineering, TiMER is a romantic comedy with a sci-fi bent. Its central conceit: Sometime in the not-so-distant future, there will be a device called a "timer" that will count down the days until you are destined to meet your one-and-true love.

Upon the introduction of the device, I will admit that I bristled. Thankfully, all of the questions brought to my mind were addressed and even challenged. First among these issues would be the very idea that a person only has one true love in their lifetime.

More on that later.

First, we meet Oona (Emma Caulfield), the frazzled and high-strung heroine. Her timer is blank. We learn timers only work to locate your soul mate if your soul mate also has a timer. So, Oona is in the uncomfortable position of having to talk each of her boyfriends into getting the implant. Afterwards, when her timer is still blank, niceties are exchanged, and the now-ex-boyfriend goes on his merry way. What a miserable existence.

Upon the urging of her free-spirited stepsister (Michelle Borth), Oona finds herself having a fling with Mikey (John Patrick Amedori), a young man she meets at a grocery store. His timer says that he has four months until his true love comes along. Is it worth it to fall for a person whom you know for certain will very soon become unavailable?

And so the complications increase. The film functions as your standard romantic comedy, but the motivations behind the conflicts are far more complex.

Consider the 14-year-old boy (the age at which it is legal for one to get a timer) who finds out he has only three days before meeting his soul mate. His parents are surprised to see him so despondent upon hearing the news. Why ever could this be? Maybe it would be a letdown to learn, at 14, that in just a couple days you'll meet and kind of be forced to stay with the love of your life. There go the follies of youth.

Or consider the man whose wife died. He knew for sure that she was his one and only love. But when he gets a timer implanted, it starts to count down. What does this mean about not only his future, but his past? Does it somehow make his marriage less meaningful?

It's suggested at one point, by a character that is adamantly supportive of the basic philosophy of the timer, the device will insure not only love, but fidelity, marriage without divorce and no danger of sexually transmitted infections. But is it not possible that marriages can fall apart, despite one person's love for the other? And if that were to happen, would the countdown begin again?

This is all without mentioning the astounding awkwardness one would encounter upon meeting a perfect stranger they know they are destined to be with. How does that conversation even begin?

These are some good questions raised by a surprising little romantic comedy. That TiMER also makes us care for the characters is some feat. Emma Caulfield as Oona comes off as insanely wound up for most of the movie, but why shouldn't she? How much pressure must that damned clock put on her?

As her romance blossoms with Mikey, we begin to worry for him. He's young and easily breakable, but for a time he seems so right for her. Even Oona's cavalier stepsister starts to become sympathetic, and she only sleeps with men who have timers, because they are - by their nature - just killing time. How willing is she to risk getting hurt after meeting the man who may be the one?

A romantic comedy that inspires these kinds of thoughts is a rare thing, indeed. If you've got a rom-com jones, and you can satiate it with a movie as smart and good-hearted as TiMER you'd be a fool to miss that chance. - Three stars

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