High-Concept Meets Low Budget in Rom-Com TIMER


A high-concept, low-budget romantic comedy that integrates science fiction (similar to Brad Anderson’s underrated Happy Accidents), writer-director Jac Schaeffer’s pleasant feature debut first requires a ridiculous leap of faith: that a bio-tech gizmo might be able to pinpoint your soulmate. (If true, Apple is on it.) Soon to be 30, love-obsessed dentist Oona (Emma Caulfield) has dragged every potential new beau to the TiMER clinic to be outfitted with a wrist implant, which counts down the time until you’ll meet your perfect match—assuming they’ve jacked in, too. Oona’s biological clock literally flashes like an unprogrammed VCR, while her stepsister and roommate, Steph (Michelle Borth), sleeps around, killing time until she’s set to meet Mr. Right at 43. Perhaps it’s nitpicking to scold Schaeffer for adhering to the genre’s feel-good trappings, when a more rebellious auteur might’ve had Oona beeping in the presence of someone disabled, another woman, or a long-lost relative. The titular device draws attention away from any heartfelt connections, and the film’s bland aesthetics and movie-cute cast kick up unsolicited nostalgia for many a ’90s indie. A rom-com is a rom-com, however, and at least this one’s more charming than most of Jennifer Aniston’s career.