Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel DVD review

Can the TV stalwarts assembled here pull off a sci-fi comedy to rival Shaun Of The Dead...?

Sacked from his role as a Space Ranger – on the Star Ride at a theme park – for being a little over-enthusiastic and making a room full of children cry, Ray (IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd) heads to the pub with co-workers Pete (Dean Lennox Kelly) and Toby (Marc Wootton).

Over a few pints they discuss the state of Hollywood and being a nerd, or rather ‘imagineer’ as they don’t like to use the ‘N’ word. When Ray goes to get a round in, he’s stopped by Anna Farris’ Cassie, who tells him that she’s from the future and is there to repair a time leak. Ray, unconvinced, returns to Pete and Toby and congratulates them on their wind up. It’s not until Pete time travels after a trip to the gents that it transpires that it wasn’t a wind-up at all and the lads embark on a number of time jumps.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel never quite escapes from feeling as though made for TV. The combination of the budget and the performances from those involved contribute towards this.

Given the fact that this is an early, if not first, foray into movies for many of those involved, it’s perhaps not a huge surprise that this is the case. Director Gareth Carrivick’s previous work has ranged from the sublime This Morning With Richard Not Judy to the ridiculously awful Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. It’s writer Jamie Mathieson’s debut screenplay and the majority of the cast are better known for their TV performances. As a TV show, however, this may have worked quite well.

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It’s not a terrible film; it just never seems to get going. A few minor chuckles aside, there’s a distinct lack of laugh-out-loud moments. The lack of chemistry between the three male leads makes the ‘banter’ seem awkward. Chris O’Dowd manages to perform admirably, despite the lack of chemistry, displaying just the right amount of charm and affability to make Ray a likeable character. I’m unconvinced that he’s leading man material, but I’m sure he’ll appear in plenty more movies. Anna Farris puts in a decent performance as Cassie, although she’s criminally underused. It’s baffling to see the appeal the material posed to a star such as Farris.

“How hard can it be to make a film that doesn’t suck?” ponders Marc Wootton’s Toby fairly early on in the movie. I’m sure many negative reviews of this movie will have picked up on this comment and used it as ammunition to criticise the movie. It would be unfair to say that the movie sucks, as stated previously, it’s not a terrible film. There are some decent ideas and given a bit more attention and budget I’m sure it would have been a better movie.

Around its release I saw a lot of posters for Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel with quotes comparing it to Shaun Of The Dead. If you’re expecting anything near as entertaining as Shaun Of The Dead, or a film that shows anywhere near the level of charm or attention to detail, you’ll be disappointed. Quite a lot is packed in to the runtime which clocks in at just under 90 minutes and there a number of geek culture reference points – which are expected in a movie such as this.

Apart from a selection of trailers (Daybreakers, Crank 2 and Drag Me To Hell) and English subtitles for the hearing impaired there are no special features. With the lack of features and the quality of the film, I wouldn’t recommend a purchase. However, if you’re a fan of any of those involved it’s worth renting.


2 stars

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel is out now.

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2 out of 5