TiMER (2009)

timer1
(Image via impawards.com)

A corporation called TiMER has made big business out of helping people find love through the use of matchmaking countdown clocks.

For a small monthly fee, clients of TiMER can be implanted with a timer that will count down to the minute that they’re going to meet their soulmate. The company has been in business for 15 years, and they have a success rate of 98%.

Oona (Emma Caulfield), an orthodontist living in Los Angeles, is a client of TiMER. But her countdown is blank, which happens to anyone whose soulmate is not yet equipped with a countdown device.

Oona brings a string of timer-free boyfriends to TiMER to get their devices installed in hopes that they’ll match with hers. When they inevitably don’t match, she immediately breaks up with them.

Steph (Michelle Borth), Oona’s roommate and step-sister, is very skeptical about TiMER. She has one, but it’s told her that she won’t meet her soulmate until age 43, and she doesn’t want to believe that. She chooses to have one night stands with men whose timers are about to expire, allowing them one last fling before they meet their match.

Oona, despite her failures at finding a match, wants to believe that it will work for her, so she (unlike Steph) continues to search for her true love. In the meantime, she begins spending time with Mikey (John Patrick Amedori), a younger grocery store cashier whose TiMER is set to go off within a few months.

(Image via arntmkv.com)
(Image via arntmkv.com)

TiMER was directed and written by Jac Schaeffer.

The premise of TiMER is an interesting one, blending not-too-outlandish science fiction with romantic comedy. I selected this film on Netflix one afternoon, intrigued by the twist it puts on the typical “woman searching for ‘the one'” story, but didn’t go in with incredibly high expectations.

This film fits into the quiet, quirky brand of romantic comedy. It won’t leave you with fits of laughter, but it has its moments of humor, and the story is every bit as intriguing as the premise makes it sound.

The film is set in the present, so this matchmaking-clock-filled world runs parallel to ours rather than being placed in the distant future. Oona is so desperate to find her match that she exclusively dates TiMER-less men, taking every single one of them to the matchmaking clinic. And even when she meets Mikey, she’s still focused on the timers.

There’s also a subplot involving Oona and Steph’s half-brother which provides even more insight into the TiMER system: he’s 14 years old, the age when people can first be fit with timers, and he’s set to meet his match in only three days.

(Image via theiapolis.com)
(Image via theiapolis.com)

The film’s performances are pretty good. Caulfield and Borth are believable as close-knit stepsisters, and their scenes together are some of the best of the film. Caulfield herself carries the film quite well, embodying all of Oona’s worries and internal conflict. Amedori is good in his role of Mikey, too, and I like that his character is written as an average 22-year-old dude rather than a romantic hero – no grand gestures, plenty of immaturity.

TiMER is a film that exceeded my expectations. I would recommend it to fans of independent dramedies, looking for a twist on the type of story we usually see in romantic films.

The score: 4/5

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