A device that tells you the exact amount of time it will be until you meet your soulmate seems to be the perfect answer for heartbreak and uncertainty, but it only causes problems for Oona, who has yet to have her timer begin to count down (because the person she is meant to be with, whoever they may be, has yet to get one). This frustration and loneliness leads her to begin a casual relationship with a young man whose timer countdown is set to end in just a few months. A fairly interesting tale unravels from this setup, that brings up questions of destiny and what's better, the person who is right for us or the person we choose.
A novel premise and thoughtful script from a modern romantic drama? AND a likable protagonist that's not the same caricature we've seen a thousand times (Emma Caulfield gets total credit for pulling that off)? I genuinely liked TiMER, for those reasons and others.
This isn't my usual kind of movie, but it's so well made that I enjoyed it. Genre fans will like it even more.
The story here is that they have invented a timer bracelet which can tell you the exact moment you meet "the one" and exactly how long you have to wait in hours and days before that happens. Oona, played nicely by Emma Caulfield, is nearly 30, and hers is yet to register any numbers at all. Either meaning there is no "the one" for her, or he is yet to have the bracelet implanted.
She becomes involved with the much younger Mikey, (John Patrick Amedori), who is a check out guy at a supermarket and also plays in an unsuccessful rock band. The two of them really look nice together, age difference be damned, could hardly blame her for falling for him. Mikey has the bracelet, but is registering a time four months down the track, meaning Oona is not his destined one. I don't want to spoil this by giving too much away, but this was a really intelligent and interesting little rom com.
I was a little disappointed by the ending, you will understand what I mean once you have seen it, but it did appear to have a happy ending of sorts and you get the impression all works out okay. Not the way I was hoping it would go, but nevertheless, not a bad outcome.
This is one of those films that thought it had a great gimmick, but didn't achieve anything real substantial because that great gimmick really sucks. Would humanity really stoop to getting the gratification of knowing when that person would enter their lives? I don't know. Probably. The problem with Timer is that you watch most of the film hoping that true love will overcome a piece of plastic and silicon attached to everyone's wrist, but in the end technology wins out. If there's a metaphor there about us right now I can't see it through the haze. We Shall Overcome has been replaced with Now Serving #47.
Sprinkled with bad acting, writing, and directing Timer is your typical direct to video mainstay that keeps rental stores shelves full. It's a good date movie that you'll forget about during dinner or a tumble in the back seat of the car. Seriously, I wrote the title down to write this review later and had no clue what movie this was until i went to IMDb to figure out what movie I was writing about. Don't waste a lot of money on this one because you'll be somewhere later, looking for what you spent on Timer wondering "I thought I had three ones in my pocket". This is a masterpiece in forgetability.
In "TiMER," Oona(Emma Caulfield, of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer"), an orthodontist, has a blank device. She drags Brian(Scott Holroyd), who she has been dating for a month, to an outlet to have one installed to see if they are a match but no luck. So, she goes back to the apartment she shares with her stepsister and best friend Steph(Michelle Borth, of the unremembered "the forgotten"), 5,192 days and counting, to watch nature programs. Bored, Oona returns to the supermarket to ask out the younger Mikey(John Patrick Amedori), 129 days and counting. Regardless, everybody is excited at their teenage brother Jesse(Hayden McFarland) to have his TiMER installed. It turns out he only has three days to wait.
"TiMER" is a charming, intelligent and thought-provoking romantic comedy that uses a bit of science fiction(This is the present, not the near future. And it is a nice touch to differentiate between Oona's and the newer model.) to ironically ground its story in emotional realism as it satirizes the very notion of biological clocks.(Time pieces are visible throughout.) At the same time, the concept of one true love is explored. Personally, I would not want to know as I would much rather know when the next bus is going to show up. And the movie, with relatively modest means, explores how such a device would change everybody's lives and behavior, as perhaps spontaneity and romance would suffer. On the one hand, some might be depressed at the amount of time it takes while others might be relieved that there is somebody special out there for them. What would be interesting to see is that it might be somebody that they would not have otherwise given a second look, resulting in many more interracial relationships. However, there is always the option of being single and there is nothing wrong with this.
This is what someone wrote about the end:
"The problem with Timer is that you watch most of the film hoping that true love will overcome a piece of plastic and silicon attached to everyone's wrist, but in the end technology wins out. If there's a metaphor there about us right now I can't see it through the haze. We Shall Overcome has been replaced with Now Serving #47."
My comment to this person was: I don't think the ending was saying that at all. I think the reason it was left open-ended (which is something I usually hate in movies) was to help the viewer make up his own mind of whether he believes love is fate or a choice. Maybe Oona can still make it work with Mikey or maybe she'll choose Dan, the man she was meant to be with. I also think it was saying that she COULD HAVE HAD Mikey if she would have trusted her own love for him and committed her life to him, but she chose to let a device chose for her, therefore ruining what could have been a beautiful relationship built on commitment rather than being with a person because that's what a piece of technology told her to do. I think it's a beautiful metaphor that can be applied perhaps in today's society and compared to matchmaking technology such as eHarmony making matches for you vs. finding someone in real life.
In any case, I was pleased when I realized within a few seconds of screen time that the main character here is Emma Caulfield, who I best know as Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her Buffy character was one of my favorites, so getting some extra screen time with her here is a major perk.
Unsurprisingly, her character here isn't too far removed from that of Anya. Less demon, more wistful human.
The other performances are pretty good, too. However, the big problem with Timer comes in at the script stage.
The concept--timers that tell you when you meet your "true love"--is about as half-baked as they come. I can do a pretty good job of suspending disbelief, but the problems here become too extreme for me to do a capable job suspending disbelief.
This is compounded by the bland, very predictable plot advancement. It was easy to see where this was going--and I wasn't even trying to guess the end.
Steph: The chicken, the egg. It's all a big clusterfuck
As I've said before, any movie I watch three times is an automatic 3 stars. I could write a paper about his movie.
The cast was really good, particularly Michelle Borth. I hope to see her in other projects.