Indie comedy about three colleagues who investigate a classified ad calling for time travel companions. From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine. In Cinemas October 18.
Safety IS somewhat guaranteed in Colin Trevorrow’s modestly enjoyable indie, which takes its plot from a real-life magazine ad that became an internet meme in the mid-2000s. The idea of someone looking for a partner to join them on a time travelling expedition is high concept heaven, loaded with the potential to be something wholly original and unpredictable - an arcanely twisted Charlie Kaufman-esque opus perhaps. However, Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly take the less adventurous route, content to charm our pants off rather than set our imagination on fire.
The toned-down sci-fi quotient may bug viewers wanting something meatier - this is more romance with a dash of sci-fi rather than vice versa, about characters finding love in unusual circumstances rather than engaging in the convoluted mechanics of time travel.
The film’s deadpan approach to genre is endearing to a point, playing out certain tropes with a fittingly budget-strapped flatness (the goofy break-in at research facility to steal lasers, the generic sunglasses-wearing gov agents). But it’s when we’re in the company of Mark Duplass’ crackpot weirdo and Aubrey Plaza’s cynical mag intern getting all googly-eyed over each other that the film shows where it succeeds most in: heart-melting adorability.
Plaza’s first major lead role isn’t a stretch by any means, but fans of her work in Parks and Recreation won’t be complaining and she proves she can hold both the big screen and a part with larger emotions, even if her tried-and-true brand of drollness lacks surprise.