The plot: desperate to fill column inches, a journalist and two interns are sent to write a story about an advert placed in the paper by someone looking for a partner to go time-travelling with.
From the very first scene it is clear what kind of film this is. It’s a low-budget indie movie. It will be witty and ironic, yet somewhat earnest and hopefully sweet, without being saccharine. There will be people you recognise from more successful TV shows or movies in supporting roles, who one would like to think are involved for the love, rather than the cash. In short, this is a comfortable film. It feels like a movie you’ve seen before. As soon as it starts you know how it’s going to end. But that is no bad thing. In less than 85 minutes it gives you everything you expect from such indie films. Everyone is a little bit off-centre, everyone has their own challenges and by the end everyone has grown, if just a little bit. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The film feels like every independent film from the last 10 years, with still scenes of natural beauty, wonky handheld camerawork for awkward conversations and the colouring which I can only assume is a by-product of the lower-cost digital cameras being utilised.
The plot is straight out of the “Bumper Book of Generic Plots” and we’ve seen it a million times before, but that should not be held against it, because it does it well. Yes, everyone has their own personal problems to overcome, their own demons to battle, but it’s such a cool twist on the genre that all of that seems irrelevant.
The script is sharp with a great number of witty lines, all of which are delivered perfectly by the cast. The only downside to the script is that with such a tight running time, it doesn’t give the peripheral characters enough screen time to show how the events have changed their lives. But you get the feeling that may have been a conscious decision, because despite its lean running time, any more from the other characters would have left the movie feeling a bit bloated.
All of the actors give pitch-perfect performances and deserve praise. Mark Duplass puts in a fine performance as the troubled time traveller and Aubrey Plaza with her completely-indifferent-to-the-world thing is great casting (if you’ve ever seen the brilliant TV show Parks and Recreation then you’ll know she’s got that role pegged down). Karan Soni as the nerdy computer geek certainly didn’t get enough screen time and Jake Johnson as the shallow, exploitative, slacker boss looking to hook up with an old flame is very funny.
Basically, if you like your kooky, off-the-wall indie movies then this is one for you. If they make you want to vomit, then I’d give it a miss. Personally, I love a well-made indie movie and this is certainly one of those.