Direction: Richard Curtis
Actors: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams
When it comes to creating smash-hit romantic comedies, British writer-director Richard Curtis is without peer. He scripted a couple of fairy tale romances (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill) before helming the madcap romps Love Actually (2003) and The Boat that Rocked (2009).
For his third and reportedly final film as director, Curtis returns to the terrain he has made his own over the last two decades. This time, he even provides a time travel twist to the tale for good measure.
While falling just short of his earlier genre benchmarks, About Time still makes for crowd-pleasing entertainment.
A genuinely engaging cast contributes to the enjoyment level of the rambling story about an aspiring young lawyer (Gleeson) who is blessed with a gift which enables him to find the girl of his dreams.
On his 21st birthday, our genial hero is informed by his dad (Bill Nighy) that, like all other men in their family, he now has the ability to tinker with his immediate past.
Before you can say abracadabra, the newly empowered youngster is scampering through time zones, reshaping previous occurrences in order to meet cute (during a literal blind date, no less) with his future wife (McAdams).
Their romantic entanglements form the core of the narrative. As a result, most of the other members of the protagonist's family including his wayward sister (Lydia Wilson) are given short shrift. At least, the brisk momentum obscures the frequent lapses in logic.
In tried-and-true Curtis-com tradition, the plot packs in a wedding (the son's), a funeral (the father's) and an overload of schmaltz. The climactic flashback depicting the father and son strolling on a beach is too glib for comfort.
On the other hand, the ensemble is in fine form. There's scintillating chemistry between the two personable leads Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams. The underrated character actor Bill Nighy as the ping-pong loving father and Tom Hollander as a cynical playwright, lend sterling support.
Recommended for the young at heart.