With the wholesomely bland vibe of an ABC Family show, All in Time uses the familiar premise of an uptight protagonist letting go and pursuing his dreams as a springboard for awkwardly executed magical realism.
It’s 1996, and Charlie (Sean Modica) decides to quit his banking job to manage the Damnsels, an annoyingly named if passably post-grunge band struggling to maintain an audience in his Pennsylvania hometown. The film halfheartedly incorporates science fiction elements as Charlie decides that the Damnsels’ big comeback moment will be a time-travel-themed concert. Time travel ends up being real — and barely explained.
All in Time is frustratingly uncertain about what it wants to be: As Almost Famous–style nostalgia, it lacks a rock ‘n’ roll edge. The time-travel elements recall Back to the Future, but the filmmakers don’t fully commit to the sci-fi aspect, and the screenplay is weighed down by cliché lines like “Life is about the detours.”
Charlie’s girlfriend, Rachel (Vanessa Ray), is a charismatic presence, but the time-travel twist involving her character is contrived.
All in Time‘s most memorable sequence is a montage in which a band comes together before our eyes. Laura (Laura Shay), shy but strong-voiced, is a singer-songwriter managed by Charlie. As she sings, the film cuts to “Musician Wanted” ads, and one by one we see the respondents appear, joining in the performance until the band is fully formed. For these moments, the musical process is whimsical and easygoing. All in Time is best when it’s not forcing its slight narrative toward fantasy.
All in Time
Written and directed by Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue
Opens October 7, Village East Cinema