Reviewed by Ian Forbes, Sobering Conclusion
Let’s put 15 minutes on the clock!
That’s the number of minutes I’d like to spend writing a review about writer/director Andrew Niccol’s film, In Time. (Any more, and I’m simply wasting mine.)
The sci-fi premise here is that time has become the commodity by which all things are bought and sold. People are now genetically engineered to stop aging at 25 … which would be great except for the 1-year ticking clock that starts up as a result. And when your clock hits zero, that’s it folks. C’est fini. Need a cup of coffee? That’ll be 4 minutes. Need to pay your rent? That’ll be 2 days. Need to travel to a nicer time zone? That could cost you a full year.
Time zones you ask? Well, it’s basically the way in which society has walled off each caste segment of society. The rich lounge around in beautiful houses, with little to fear but a freak accident or violent crime. The poor beg and scrape to stay ahead of their personal clock, rarely figuring out a way to save up enough to move up to a nicer zone.
Crap, I’m 5 minutes down.
Okay, so the story here centers on Will Salas (Justin Timberlake). He has dreams of taking his mom to the nicest zone there is (by the way, mom’s played by Olivia Wilde … remember, everyone stops aging at 25 … and yes, this would make mingling at a bar very awkward). After a chance meeting with a rich man who’s mentally fatigued from living for so long, Will makes his way to the Beverly Hills of time zones and meets Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of a very wealthy time mogul (Vincent Kartheiser). Will and Sylvia’s beginning is a bit of a ransom scheme but eventually the film turns into a cross between Bonnie and Clyde, Robin Hood, and Logan’s Run. The two of them try to stay one step ahead of the law (headed up by Cillian Murphy) and the audience should try to stay well away from the movie theater.
Sorry, that seemed rushed but I’ve only got 5 more minutes!
Look, the script is insipid, to say the least. It’s full of flat puns about time and its value, (my favorite being a hooker saying she’ll give you 10 minutes for an hour). The cutesy attempts to shoehorn a story about class warfare into this sci-fi shell merely come off like some film student who thinks he’s the wittiest kid in school. And then there’s the weird fact that the entire film feels like it’s filmed within a square mile of the Sixth Street Bridge in Los Angeles; with at least half a dozen trips back and forth on it.
TWO MORE MINUTES!!!
By the end of it all, I couldn’t help but get the giggles watching Timberlake and pals run from place to place, supposedly with purpose but their intentions are only loosely hinted at. It’s like Niccol had some great, grand plan but in only giving the loose framework of this sci-fi setting, trying to develop real, tangible results in the end simply doesn’t work. I doubt it was intentional but I laughed more at this than nearly every “comedy” of 2011.
So, with my time quickly running out, here’s the run down: Timberlake & Seyfried are pretty. The script is not. This is fine for a lazy afternoon on the couch but don’t let In Time part you from your money at the theaters. Then you truly would have wasted both your money and your time (sorry, I had to have at least one more shot at the title, didn’t I?)
TIME’S UP! (okay, so I got another one in.)
In Time hits theaters on October 28, 2011 and is rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and strong language.
More on In Time:
—Trailer and cast list