STUDIO: Phase 4 Films
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
• Blooper Reel
• 2 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary
• Phase 4 Films Trailers
The only thing a vengeance demon fears more than bunnies is dying alone.
Emma Caulfield, John Patrick Amedori, Michelle Borth, Desmond Harrington, JoBeth Williams, written and directed by Jac Schaffer
“What if a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate? In this alternate version of present day Los Angeles, a revolutionary device called the TiMER fulfills this fantasy. For a reasonable installation fee and moderate monthly charges, a TiMER implanted in the wrist will accurately display the numbers of days, hours, minutes and seconds until the wearers date with destiny.”
Johnny Rico’s dad pops up in the credit sequence to remind everyone we can ill afford another Klendathu.
Mankind seems lucky enough to in the middle of a modern day Renaissance of the science fiction film genre. No longer just fantasy wank for the geeky and overly intellectual, high concept storytelling has eeked it’s way into just about every corner of the cinema landscape. Yet for every Moon and Primer we’re subjected to the likes of The Lake House and My Stepmother is an Alien. The Sci-Fi/Romance hybrid has always been a tough nut to crack. Lucky for us Jac Schaffer’s TiMER comes out of the gate hard, nuts crackin’.
The sci-fi element to TiMER comes in the form of devices known as, coincidentally enough, “TiMER’s”. Watch size devices implanted in the users wrist that count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. There’s only one caveat though, for the TiMER to be functional the person’s soul mate must also have one implanted, and that’s where our story lies. 30 year old orthodontist Oona (Emma Caulfield) has a TiMER but no count down, prompting her to scour the greater Los Angeles area for guys that have yet suit up. Complications arise in form of Mikey (John Patrick Amedori), a charismatic young drummer/grocery store clerk who’s charm and solid 4/4 timing manage to win Oona’s heart. It’s hard to give an accurate summary of the film without giving too much away. It’s not ultra dense and plot twist filled, but TiMER evolves from a fairly simple 2-D concept into something much more full and robust in it’s scant 90+ minute running time.
Screen tests from the fan financed “Buffy Season 8″. The lack of production values is noticeable.
There’s a vein of true science fiction at work here with TiMER, using this off-beat, futuristic concept to tell a morality story that is very much relevant in our current society. It might be blasphemous to name drop Bradbury in relation to what is in essence a light hearted chick flick, but there’s almost enough depth to warrant it. TiMER‘s rhetoric is very clearly defined and thought out. The story here is tight, and just as your mind starts to unravel all the potential contradictions and logical fallacies a movie about people with devices in their wrist that countdown until the moment they find their true love might contain, TiMER finds a way to tackle the issues head on and in a satisfactory manner. Divorce, death, free will, and choice are all addressed. I’m not saying this film is some kind of grand meditation on the human condition, but…well fuck it, it is. And it’s a damn fine one at that.
Writer/Director Jac Schaffer definitely gets a VIP award on this one. The writing is fucking tight. The actors are all capable and given a solid foundation to build off of all do above par. The charisma between Caulfield and Amedori is enough to sell their romance. Then again a 30 year old doctor spending her nights fucking the brains out of a barely legal drummer is right up my alley, so my propensity towards the suspension of disbelief regarding their romance might be slightly tainted.
Counting down to the exact moment when zombies become cool again.
That’s not to say TiMER‘s without it’s flaws. One could cite the hardest pill to swallow coming in the form of trying to pass off Caulfield as a 30 year old, and the overuse of montage is grating to say the least, but why nitpick? TiMER is a blend. A superbly made cocktail with no one flavor being too strong, mixed together to create a unique and enjoyable experience. And I’m not just saying that shit either so it ends up on a poster somewhere. I honestly believe it. This is a great flick.
There’s a pretty decent package of special features here, even if most of them are of the fluff variety. The deleted scenes focus mainly on the subplots involving Oona’s family and are dismissible, although one in particular does hint at a happier ending for her sister. The two short featurettes are also unnecessary. “Inside the TiMER Store” highlights the various TiMER/iPhone comparisons the film makes that, although completely lost upon me during my initial viewing, are interesting to consider in retrospect. The blooper reel is pretty much what you’ve come to expect; 3 minutes of actors flubbing their lines and cussing in frustration.
Jac’s commentary is a definite bright spot however. Old girl really lets her geek flag fly as she points out scenes influenced by everything from X-Files to the Dawn of the Dead remake. I already enjoyed the shit out of TiMER the first time around, and listening to her talk about where this beautiful little story of hers came from only helped solidify her as a writer/director we should all be so lucky to hear more from in the future.
You know, not to be a perv and all, but in case you were wondering…
9 out of 10