‘About Time’: The Reviews Are In!

Does the time-traveling rom-com create movie history or make critics want to erase it?

Writer/director Richard Curtis returns to the romantic comedy genre this weekend, mixing in a little time travel for good measure with “About Time .” Domhnall Gleeson stars as a man who finds out he has the ability to time-travel within his own lifetime. Naturally, he uses the ability to get with a hot girl way out of his league, played by Rachel McAdams.

Ultimately, it’s the date crowd that will determine how this movie fares at the box office, but what do critics think? Did it make them want to travel back in time to stop the movie from ever being made? Or did they want to relive it over and over again? Or alternately, did they avoid time-travel metaphors in their reviews altogether? (Hint: nope.)

The Father-Son Scenes Are Great
“The father-son scenes are offbeat, funny and genuinely warm. Gleeson (who played one of Ron Weasley’s brothers and is the son of Irish actor Brendan) is not going to work as Curtis’ new Hugh Grant — he’s a sidekick, not a leading man, and the couple of scenes in which beautiful women invite him home after a single nice conversation border on sci-fi. But he works just fine with [Bill] Nighy, who makes these scenes glow. With his lightly worn authority and quietly generous spirit, he makes for the ideal dad.” — Kyle Smith, New York Post

So Is McAdams
“As an actress and as a movie star — she’s certifiably both — McAdams has traveled this way before: In ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife,’ she was (spoiler alert) the wife of a time-traveler, while in ‘Midnight in Paris’ she was (spoiler alert) a time-traveler’s fiancée. Strong material, weak material and in-between, McAdams has an uncanny ability to establish a rapport with a scene partner, so that the on-screen relationship acquires something like real feeling, no matter her co-star.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

It’s Too Long
“At two hours plus, this surfeit of good feeling can wear thin, as if carolers stood outside your house on Christmas Eve and never stopped singing. And in case you somehow missed the movie’s point — ‘We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives; all we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride’ — Curtis underscores his theme with a half-dozen love songs.” — Richard Corliss, Time

Ultimately, It May Be Too Frivolous
“The self-satisfaction that ‘About Time’ radiates is so strong that it eclipses any curiosity the audience might bring. You may wish, when it’s over, that you could borrow Tim’s skill, reclaim the two hours and buy a ticket for something else. (You have a lot of good choices at the moment.) Not that it really makes a difference. By the time you get home from the multiplex, it will be as if the whole thing never happened.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

But Hey, That’s Not Why You’re Going To See This
“Crucially, there are just enough laugh-out-loud moments here to excuse the lurches into shameless, tear-jerking sentimentality.” — Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“About Time” hits theaters everywhere Friday (November 1).