I wasn't sure what I was going to think going into this movie. I'll admit I do like a good romantic comedy, despite them all pretty much ending predictably. But on top of the incredibly high Netflix rating and a decently high IMDb rating, it had an interesting Sci-Fi twist to it. Oh, and it starred Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

TiMER takes place in essentially a modern-day Earth, but where a couple decades before, people invented an object called, creatively enough, a timer (for the sake of sanity, I'm not gonna continue with the capitalization thing it does throughout the rest of this review). The timer is installed on the wrist of a person's dominant hand and counts down to the exact day that person will meet his or her soulmate. Now, this doesn't mean said person will fall in love on that day. It's just the day they'll meet for the first time--they can even be enemies at first, but they'll always eventually end up together.

Oona (Emma Caulfield) has had her timer since she was 14, which is the youngest legal age you can get one. But, strangely, her timer doesn't have a countdown, which means her soulmate hasn't gotten a timer of his own. Obsessed with "just knowing," she'll date guys a while and take them to get their own timer. And if the timers don't match up? Well, that's that. According to Oona, there's no point in continuing to date the guy--he's not her soulmate. On the other hand, Oona's step-sister Steph (Michelle Borth) has a timer that has a countdown telling her she won't meet her soulmate until she's into her 40s, over a decade away. And both women are driven crazy because of their respective timer issues. Though here's where they differ: Steph is up for some meaningless sex with strangers to take the edge off, while Oona would rather stick around for "the one."

Enter Mikey (John Patrick Amedori), a much younger guy who works at as a grocer that flirts with Oona one day. Oona, going against better judgment, eventually goes back and asks Mikey out (in so many words). Long story short, they end up in a relationship that Oona believes is just doomed from the start, but which Mikey is fine with, as he slowly falls in love with her. As he declares, life is about the detours. Also enter Dan (Desmond Harrington), who plays as Steph's love interest, despite Steph wanting to try and set him up with her sister instead.

OK, well, that was a lengthy plot summary, wasn't it? And I didn't even discuss Oona's family (primarily her brother). Her brother plays out a pretty thematically vital subplot. He has just turned 14 and gets a timer installed on his wrist, which declares he'll meet his soulmate in 3 days (to the annoyance of Oona). But I'll get back to themes after while.

First I want to talk about the overall film. I know I generally save this for the end, but this really isn't your typical Rom Com. I mean, the formula is definitely there, and you can see the 'big twist' coming a mile away. But other than that, this movie has a crap load of heart. It's very realistic with practically everything it does, from the emotions to the dialogue. It's been a while since I've seen a movie that balances its profanity so perfectly. Most comedies, particularly this genre, tend to do one of two things: 1) Use profanity excessively for humor or 2) Stay pretty far away from it and keep relatively clean. This movie is in the middle somewhere. It's there, but it isn't common. It's very real life, where people just talk normally and say something profane every now and then instead of every other word. In other words, it's used right. And it was incredibly refreshing, despite the fact that profanity has never bothered me, even in excess. But similarly, the character actions were very real, too. There wasn't any over-the-top moment. There weren't any romantic cliches, like the forgiveness in the rain. Everybody had a fault--the guys and the girls. It's just... the movie felt real. I'm not exactly sure I'm getting my point across in this paragraph, so I'll leave it at that.

The acting is really good. Nobody was even remotely bad or annoying. I particularly liked the actor who played Mikey, and I hope to see him in more things in the future. Desmond Harrington, you you might recognize as Quinn in Dexter, plays a pretty good character in this movie. He's very likable. But the one thing I just have to comment on is the reunion of Anya and Halfrek. For those of you who are looking at me like I'm crazy, Emma Caulfield played Anya in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Kali Rocha played her best demon-friend, Halfrek. Both actresses are in this movie, though Kali Rocha has a pretty minor role. Still, them both interacting is fun, especially the beginning when Kali's character asks Oona if the man she's with was "another potential." I'm not sure if it was intentional, but that seemed to be a funny little nod at Buffy.

So let's get back to the themes of the movie, because they're pretty blatant. Mikey has a good little speech at one point. He says that the timer basically takes away every path, giving you only one, but that life is about the detours. This line is huge in the grand scheme of the movie, but I'm not sure in what way. Basically, the movie sets itself up as a film about choosing your own destiny, following your own path and your own heart, and that life and love was more than just what some little bit of plastic told you it was. Now for my, and most other people's, biggest issue with the film:


The ending. In the end, Oona goes with the timer, not against it. This means she doesn't choose Mikey, which goes against the Rom Com standards. I can consider this a good, original thing. However, it also seems--on one level--to go against the themes of the film. After all that, the brother decides to continue forth with his young love, and Oona kinda goes against her sister's feelings by going with the timer, also leaving Mikey. Especially considering a scene not long before the ending where Oona's step-mother (I suppose you'd call her) explains how her timer didn't match with Oona's father's, yet she loves him so she's with him anyway.

However, on the other hand, the movie was also about the "detour," as Mikey had explained previously. In essence, there was a very Once-esque feel to it. Oona knew the relationship wasn't going to work from the beginning, but continued with it, making it one of the best 'detours' of her life. In that sense, the ending works perfectly. But still, there's something about it that bothers me.


Despite that issue, the movie was nearly perfect, particularly for its genre. It was incredibly charming, and you can't help but just smile while you're watching it. It felt very real and not contrived at all, like most Rom Coms these days. Not to mention the very idea of the timer and how it effects people's decisions was great to look at from a psychological point of view (and the movie does play at that). Anyway, I definitely recommend it. It's very unique and quite original. And if you have Netflix Instant Streaming, you can find it there.

Royale With Cheese


  1. Yay! I wanted this to be really good, I'm so glad you think it is. I too added it to my Netflix because of Anya.

  2. I really hated the ending. I wanted her to choose mikey so dang bad! ugh!

  3. Love this movie, particularly bc of the way it ended, I was going to be disappointed if they copped out and she chose mikey.


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