If you love romantic comedies and sci-fi then you will enjoy Time Freak. When I first saw the trailer, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. At first glance, it looks like another version of 50 First Dates but with the time machine aspect added. Boy meets girl, boy gets the girl than he loses the girl. So what is the logical way to win her back? Flowers? No, too overdone. Chocolates? Build a time machine? Ding, ding, we have a winner, folks. That’s exactly what Stillman (Asa Butterfield) does to win back the love of his life Debbie (Sophie Turner).
The first five minutes of the film show the break-up scene multiple times. Stillman repeats the scenario using different tactics. It’s hilarious and frustrating to watch at the same time. You have to wonder how many times they had to re-shoot all the many different scenes before it became too redundant. That is, however, the point of the movie. Time Freak is a bit of a melting pot of science fiction, romance and life lessons all mixed into one film. One could even say they may develop a love/hate relationship with this film while watching it. You love watching it for some of the humorous bits, but you will hate it for repeating itself.
Director: Andrew Bowler
Release Date: Nov 9, 2018 (Theatrical and On-Demand) / Blu Ray: January 8, 2019, Rated: PG-13
After Stillman fails to figure out where he went wrong he asks his best friend Evan (Skyler Gisondo) to go on a time-traveling journey to get Debbie back. A lot of hit and misses ensue with Evan also hoping to fix his own sorry life while Stillman at the same time is revisiting and reliving aspects where he thinks he screwed up. This is all in an effort to prevent the break-up text from happening. It’s a very interesting concept but it’s been done and overdone to bits. Did we really need this movie? No, we didn’t. Time Freak for sure has an audience but some may want to just skip some of the scenes that seem to last far too long.
The movie, surprisingly, however, goes into a deeper theme about how maybe there are some things we shouldn’t try to fix. Maybe we don’t always have to be perfect and fix things all the time – with or without a time machine. It does have a good message at the very core of it, but it can get lost if you aren’t paying attention. A life lesson from this movie was not something I was expecting so that’s a plus.
Sure it sounds cool in theory, but consequences ultimately happen and Stillman seems to finally start learning that by the end of the film telling Debbie “you deserve so much better than this.” His actions have also affected Evan who has also been using the time machine to do exactly what Stillman has been doing. His life is better now and therefore begs Evan not to destroy the time machine.
Without giving too much away plot-wise I found there was a lot in this film that was extremely cheesy and overdone. For example, a scene where Evan has to try and run over Stillman was just so unnecessary. I found Time Freak relied a little too much on comedic relief. When it came time to actually focusing on the heart of the story, you just can’t take it seriously at all.
We get a happy ending with a question mark. The now time traveled Debbie asks Stillman”if he wants to do it again.” A lot of life lessons were learned, and that’s why time machines are bad kids. Look, yes, being able to fix your past screw ups is great but not when the other person becomes collateral damage. That’s exactly what happens with Debbie. She became a victim of Stillman’s obsession with perfection.
I could probably write an entire 20-page essay on why time travel is bad but this movie pretty much sums it up. Time Freak’s story was a cute idea but can become a tad redundant to watch at times. I did just want it to skip forward at some points so, I wouldn’t have to watch the same scene over and over again but I stuck it out. We have our own version of time travel when it comes to movies – the fast-forward button.
Time Freak is an adorable story, but Asa Butterfield as Stillman plays his role with such cute nerdiness it just got boring to watch. True fans of romantic comedies and science fiction will love it; some may just want to skip to the end. Sophie Turner played her role well with what she was given and Skyler did a hilarious job of taking on the role of the sidekick. I was just left feeling underwhelmed at the ending. Other’s I’m sure will feel the same. To be honest, I wish we could have seen the actual future for the couple that wasn’t interfered with by the time machine, that I would have loved to see.