Movie review: Love gets a second chance in winning ‘About Time’

MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICENovember 8, 2013 

About Time

Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson bring on the chemistry in the time-traveling rom-com “About Time,” from the creator of “Love Actually” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

  • ABOUT TIME

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    Rated: R for language and some sexual content. Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy. Director: Richard Curtis. Running time: 123 minutes. Theaters: Edwards 22 in Boise, Village Cinema in Meridian.

Screenwriter and director Richard Curtis wanders into “Groundhog Day” territory with his latest romance. “About Time” is about time travel and how it might be applied to finding and winning over Ms. Right.

Who wouldn’t like a second or third shot at making a killer first impression with a potential mate? That’s the possibility that Dad (Bill Nighy) presents to his son, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson). The men in their family can sneak off into a closet or somewhere hidden, clench their fists, and wish their way back to a moment they’d love to relive.

“Try and do something … interesting,” Dad suggests. No, you can’t assassinate Hitler.

The magic of this Richard Curtis movie is in the comical ways that gift comes in handy, and in the romantic and emotional ones.

Clumsy, awkward Tim tests this out on his sister’s pal, hot Charlotte (Margot Robbie). That’s when he — and we — realize that we could all use a do-over, here and there. Make that first encounter one for the ages.

Rachel McAdams is Mary, the American lass Tim almost meets at one of those gimmick restaurants where the diners eat in the dark. The sparks fly. In the dark. But the meeting does not quite come off. And Tim, a true romantic, stumbles and struggles and plots to get a second chance at his perfect match.

“About Time” takes us into the life they might share, and finds ingenious ways to test love and the dilemma of choices as Tim keeps discovering all these “rules” about his time traveling.

Gleeson — he played a Weasley sibling in the Harry Potter movies — is the son of the great Irish actor Brendan Gleeson. He has a winning screen presence and clicks with McAdams, whose gift for chemistry with a wide array of leading men makes her the most underrated romantic comedy actress of her generation.

The film has the usual collection of cute Curtis supporting players, and as in most Curtis films, things go on too long and turn a trifle gooey, here and there. But “About Time” is a most romantic way to spend your time at the movies this fall.

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