Garbage. Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel back in time to any point that he has previously experienced thanks to the time travelling gene he has inherited from his father (Bill Nighy), and so he decides to spend the majority of the film, and indeed his life, using it to get laid with Mary (Rachel McAdams – continuing her sexual perversion for time travelling lovers, after 2009’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’). Actually Mary turns out to be quite easy, so it isn’t especially difficult for him and most of the film is padded out with very obvious time travelling gags as it meanders along with writer/director Richard Curtis’ upper middle class spoiled London centric characters who scarcely have any real problems to deal with, other than worrying about how to fall in love in the politest way possible and which swanky restaurant to go to. According to Curtis, the law profession that Tim chooses is entirely dominated by men – which century is he living in? And of course Tim never seems to think about using his powers to help out the people he defends in court, or indeed for doing anything especially interesting whatsoever.
Meanwhile Mary, being gainfully employed as an editor reading books for a living, which she loves, for some reason hates theatre, which makes absolutely no sense, but she is passionate about her idol Kate Moss. Kate Moss? What exactly has she ever done except stand around in her underwear posing and snorting mountains of cocaine, unless it’s dating a ‘rockstar’ so repugnant that even the press eventually got bored of him? Of course she’s in the script because Curtis has admitted his own salivary predilection for Moss. Then he gives McAdams an audience silencer of a line – whilst she’s stripping off her clothes to get information from Tim about the wedding and, upon reaching the threshold of her knickers, she asks where the honeymoon is to be, to which he suggests Scotland, her response is “I’m not taking my pants off for Scotland!”. No problem – come up north and we’ll take them off for you lass. I can only assume this references some kind of Jungian archetypal fear of the sexual prowess of the Scots. In response I think it should henceforth be every red blooded Scotsman’s duty to try and get into Rachel McAdams’ pants, although really we’d prefer Curtis had put the line in Notting Hill and we could chase Julia Roberts. Still, not sure I’d kick Rachel McAdams out of bed. Give her a good kick her up the arse, maybe…
Toward the end of the film we find motifs of death and loss and whiffs of emotional essence begin to drift into the story, and here it is more successful, but it is beyond redemption by this point. Tim’s airhead but easy to love sister (played by Lydia Wilson) is at one point taken back in time to demonstrate the man she had entered into a destructive relationship with was in fact no good, as thus now not meeting her at a party he instead simply hits on a different girl. What?! So he’s a ‘bad guy’ because he hits on girls at parties when he’s single? As if members of both sexes don’t attend parties all over the world precisely because they hope they will meet someone there, plus the girl he talks to doesn’t exactly seem upset at the attention he gives her. Is the assumption that this man is some sort of unstoppable demonic sexual force that all girls have no choice about submitting to?
This also completely ignores the enormity of the double standards that are applied throughout the story – Tim changes something which means he misses what would have been his first meeting with Mary, who instead shacks up with someone she meets AT A PARTY – someone she doesn’t know before hand and is quite clearly shown to be a creepy idiot. Tim, realising his mistake, then finds out exactly the right thing to say to Mary to impress her by repeating history again and again and again. This is somehow not intensely wrong on every level. Eventually, his lies should be unravelled and the fact their relationship is based on nothing at all unearthed, but of course it never is as he can alter everything, spending many lifetimes over perfecting his space time continuum rape of Mary, purely because he finds her hot, not really based on her personality in any meaningful way. Given the speed Mary also jumps into the sack with him, I guess she wasn’t really that fussy anyway.
Then there’s the babies – Tim cannot travel once he has created a child without altering the precise sperm and egg that met (if he goes back beyond conception that is), thus creating a different child. Somehow he corrects this error the first time he makes it and gets his young daughter back (she briefly becomes a young boy), also a little absent minded of his father not to mention this drawback, but later on when his third child is about to be born he decides to go back once again because clearly annihilating that unborn but fully formed child is fine so long as he hasn’t actually seen its face – who’ll know the difference, right?