When it comes to romantic comedies you never know what you are going to get with an indie film, especially one with a futuristic theme. At best you are bound to get a quirky film with little or no special effects and a limited view of the future. That being said, then “Timer (2009)” fully meets expectations. That is not to say that this isn’t a good little film in its own limited way. For a movie that lacks a big budget and big name actors, the film does its best to hold its own. In the end, “Timer,” makes for a decent low end video rental, one which viewers will enjoy once before discarding it from their long term memory.
In what passes for the not too distant future, the TiMER Corporation has made of love an exact science by creating a device that accurately predicts at what point in time you will meet your soul mate. The device, implanted on the wrist, works as sort of a “destiny countdown clock,” which when activated ticks down to the exact moment you will cross paths with your true love, provided of course they have a similar implant. Never mind that the science behind this is never explained, just be satisfied with knowing that 98% of all TiMER users are satisfied with the results.
Living in this futuristic world, where amazingly enough nothing else has achieved a technological advance (blame the budget or people too preoccupied with meeting their mate), is Oona (Emma Caulfied) a nice orthodontist with a blank timer (which means her soulmate is without an implant). Equally screwed by fate is Oona’s younger step-sister Steph (Michelle Borth), whose timer is set to go off way into the future. While Steph accepts her fate by engaging in meaningless one night stands, Oona obsesses by dragging all of her relationships into getting implants. Eventually, out of desperation, Oona throws caution to the wind and decides to have a fling with Mikey (John Patrick Amedori) a young grocery store clerk who moonlights as a musician.
When Oona’s timer finally goes off, she is left with a choice to make; does she stay with Mikey who loves her, or does she hook up with her soulmate Dan (Desmond Harrington).
In a surprisingly touching subplot, Oona’s 14 year old brother meets his soulmate just three short days after getting his implant.
Anyone who remembers watching Emma Caufield on the hit TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” knows she can do “quirky” well. In that regards Caufield doesn’t disappoint here, though her character could have used a little more depth. Michelle Borth does an even better job as Oona’s acid tongue sister Steph, a girl who has no use for tact or subtly, which given her predicament is totally understandable. As part of the supporting cast, John Patrick Amedori is believable as Oona’s young lover, as is veteran actress JoBeth Williams as Oona’s mother.
For a movie which could have been written better, the concept of soulmates, with all of its impractical pitfalls, is explored fairly well. Perhaps this is because movie director Jac Schaeffer (also credited as the writer) is well aware of her limitations and doesn’t make of the movie more than what it is.
WHAT DOESN”T WORK:
The initial meeting between Oona and Mikey is anything but a “meet cute” scene and could have used a re-write. Sure, an indie film of this type tries its best to stay away from the conventional, but whoever truly believes this scene would have worked in real life should be cursed with a relationship worthy of that thinking. Along those lines, why was the R-rated language necessary? What did it really add to the plot, and why take an R-rating for it when it was not needed? Maybe it’s me, but such language is clearly the work of a writer who is severely lacking in creativity.
You can do worse than this unknown rental. In the end, “TiMER” makes for a decent date movie, as long as you are willing to put up with the conversation of “soulmates” that is sure to follow.