Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The premise of TiMER epitomises so much of our can’t-wait-won’t-wait/I-want-a-guarantee culture that it’s amazing that no one has thought of it before.

Sick of searching for Mr Right? Fed up of wasting money romancing Little Miss Wrong? Then the TiMER is for you – a wrist-implanted gizmo that counts down to the exact moment when you will meet The One. Just in case you’re in any doubt, it sounds a delicate, tuneful alarm at midnight on the day they are going to turn up and, again, once your eyes meet. The catch? They have to have a TiMER too… because until your dream date gets one fitted – for $79.99 and a monthly fee of $1.99 – your wrist doohickey is destined to remain stubbornly blank.

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That’s a problem for Oona (Emma Caulfield). She’s turned looking for love into a blood sport, dragging each implant-free male she falls for down to the nearest clinic to get him ‘tested’ by TiMER. But despite being a repeat customer she has yet to find her Prince Charming. Arguably, her half-sister and best pal Steph (Michelle Borth) has got even more of a problem – her TiMER reveals she’s not going to meet her real deal until she’s 43. Meanwhile, their little bro looks as though he’s going to have no time to debate his destiny.

So, while Steph is sowing oats with abandon and refusing to commit (after all, what would be the point?), Oona finds herself doing the unthinkable, falling for a man whose TiMER only has four months left on its clock. The fact that the man (John Patrick Amedori) is also inappropriately young only adds to her woes.

Writer/director Jac Shaeffer plays around with the ideas of time and relationships like a malevolent matchmaker, finding plenty of laugh-out loud moments in the process. With her characters wearing their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak, she is able to explore the ideas of predestination and – if you believe in it – what that means for the period of your life where you play the ‘waiting game’. The idea of an older woman falling for a younger man – performed with some terrific chemistry between Caulfield and Amedori – is also a neat flipping of Hollywood convention, which makes for some fresh fodder in the humour department. And, in fact, Schaeffer brings a refreshing female-skewed outlook to the whole proceedings.

The only problem with TiMER is that the longer it ticks, the more the plot twists. While initial paradoxes and problems are set up with ease and explored with a lightness of touch, they start to pile up to such an extent that they weigh down the film and it ultimately winds down, rather than up to its rather unsatisfying climax. In addition, a subplot involving Oona's dad seems to exist purely as a device to move one element of main narrative along and could do to be either better developed or dropped altogether.

Rumour has it there may be an alternative ending out there – don’t diehard romantics whose relationships go south always want one of those? – this reviewer is rather hoping they’ll give that one a go if the film gets a general release. If they do, the star rating above could easily rise.

Reviewed on: 16 May 2009
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What would you do if you had a device that told you when you would meet your romantic destiny?

Director: Jac Schaeffer

Writer: Jac Schaeffer

Starring: Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth, John Patrick Amedori, Desmond Harrington, JoBeth Williams, Kali Rocha

Year: 2009

Runtime: 99 minutes

Country: USA

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