TiMER device

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you don’t include fantasy films, it’s not easy to come up with many pure science fiction genre romantic comedies.  Fantasy genre romantic comedies are plentiful, with great movies like Princess Bride, Splash, Enchanted, and Ella Enchanted fitting the bill.  There are also some good science fiction romances out there, the best being Somewhere in Time and Time After Time, and even more science fiction with some major romance elements, like Paycheck, Gattaca, Blade Runner, Logan’s Run, The Island, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and The Empire Strikes Back.  But you need to dig deeper to find a romantic comedy that is also full-fledged science fiction–a film focused on a future technology, time travel, time loops, parallel worlds–there’s not a lot of overlap there.  Groundhog Day comes to mind as both a science fiction romantic comedy and a fantasy romantic comedy.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with its future technology of allowing a couple in a doomed relationship to erase their memories, would fall squarely into the science fiction romantic comedy realm, although definitely it’s the darker side of romantic comedy.  Each of the Back to the Future movies have enough romantic comedy as an element but are not generally thought of as romantic comedies.  Spaceballs is a science fiction comedy with a romantic thread that parallels Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back.  Ghostbusters is also a sci-fi comedy with a romantic thread and maybe even Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home qualifies.

TiMER poster

Maybe there are fewer science fiction romantic comedies because Hollywood thinks it needs to market science fiction to men and romantic comedies to women, so a science fiction genre romantic comedy is unlikely to be a financial success.  But to find a solid romantic comedy science fiction flick, you’re left with the equal part fantasy Groundhog Day and the dark Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Until you happen to stumble across the 2009 film TiMER.  You might never hear about TiMER unless you track independent movies in film festivals, which never get to the point of having previews in theaters or in television.  Or you see that it is available for streaming on Netflix.

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