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About Time


Stars: Domnhall Gleason, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, Lydia Wilson, Margot Robbie, Richard Cordery, Lisa Eichhorn, Mitchell Mullen, Joshua McGuire, Will Merrick

Director: Richard Curtis

Rachel McAdams, the queen of romcom soaps - think The Vow, The Notebook, The Time Traveler's Wife - is at it again in this British version of the American product with, as you might expect from writer/director Curtis of Four Weddings fame, a little wit and wisdom thrown in.

Indeed, another of Curtis's works, Love, Actually, might have been an apt title for this, were it not for the fact that the story revolves around the abilities of male members of a Cornish family to travel back in time. Thus, mistakes can be rectified and the present altered - hopefully for the better, or to the advantage of the traveller.

Alternately endearing and tiresome (the latter phases somewhat alleviated by touches of Curtis's wry, observational humour), the story centres on Tim (Gleason, son of Brendan), nerdish, ginger-haired scion of the aforementioned family and his pursuit of love and happiness.

Using his 'gift' to promote his putative romance with Mary (McAdams), he goes back to where she met her current boyfriend so that he (Tim) gets in first, then improves his courtship and love-making by being able to have several 'goes' at both.

Hr also helps the playwright (Hollander, jolly good), with whom he's rooming in London, by revising the 'the Titanic of play openings. No survivors' so that the forgetful actors (Richard E Grant and the late Richard Griffiths) give their author a success.

Efforts to straighten out the life of his fly-by-night sister (Wilson) are less successful, but this is not a film that wants to put too much in the way of ultimate happiness, and wears its (rather spurious) heart on its sleeve. Nighy is a delight, as always, as Tim's dry-tongued dad, but other performances seldom rise above the competent. The ending's quite touching in a warm and fuzzy way, but you may have lost patience with it all some time before this.

David Quinlan

UK 2013. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
125 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Sep 2013