In Time (2011) Film Review *Spoiler Alerts*

In a world where there is a limited amount of resources, a built-in computer chip allows people to age up to 25 and then they have a year on their clock. They gain time by working, bartering, stealing, fighting… and pay time for goods and services. A pretty decent system. Of course, it’s not fair. In the ghetto time zones, people like Will (Justin Timberlake) can barely keep enough time on the clock to stay ahead, and in the wealthy time zones they have years, decades, centuries.

So, there’s a guy with over a century on his clock, and he’s had enough, so he heads to the ghetto to let himself be robbed and killed. (There’s pretty much my first issue – there are so many ways to give time away, why let the criminals get it?) Will steps in and saves this guy, so he explains to him how the rich live, gives will his time and drops off a bridge. Will is going to even the score, so he heads to the rich zone where he… goes to a casino? How is that going to give him justice? He plays cards against a very wealthy man, Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) who introduces Will to his beautiful daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and invites his to a party the following night. When Will arrives at the party, Weis introduces Will to Sylvia by saying “I believe you two have met” (either a bad case of script editing or a change in script that wasn’t corrected, or just… bad writing). When the time police, lead by Leon (Cillian Murphy), turn up, Will kidnaps Sylvia and then quickly she falls for him and they start robbing banks and… then play strip poker when they know they are being chased? What? It makes no sense.

I was so disappointed. A pretty decent cast, but a terrible script, and so many major and minor flaws. Plus, the end just made no real sense. Oh, and if you’re a POC, please don’t expect to see any representation – no wait. A time cop who, despite apparently being second in charge, doesn’t know much. Also, if you are rich, you are horrible. If you are poor, you may have a flaw like alcoholism, but you’re going to have a heart of gold. Ugh, I just wanted it to be better.

Friends With Benefits (2011) Film Review


Jamie (Mila Kunis) works for a head hunting company and just doesn’t have the time or patience for any more relationships that don’t work out. Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is a busy LA web designer who works too hard and his work breaks up his relationships. When he moves to New York, they strike up a friendship. Eventually, they strike upon the idea of having sex, but not letting it ruin their friendship or develop into a relationship. But, and given the genre, this is hardly a surprise, life gets in the way. Will they lose their friendship or end up in love?

I expected this would be awful. I expected it to be cheesy and terrible and really awful for women. But, Kunis came through – I really like her, she often picks good projects and brings the strong a lot. My only real character issue is when they decide to go date again, and of course, Dylan ends up with the crazy chick who growls like a dog and immediately wants to introduce him to her parents. Why, when the point of his issues is that he has trouble committing to girls, so why didn’t this character follow that, instead of bringing the crazy? It’s a cheap laugh, and then given that the Jamie character is a strong woman who is actually allowed to enjoy sex and not be punished for that, why ruin it? But other than that, I was delightfully surprised to enjoy this film a lot.


Bad Teacher (2011) Film Review


Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is a teacher, but god knows why. She comes to work stoned and hung-over, and her main aim is to get enough cash together for a boob job, then marry a wealthy man. She is under the watch of fellow teachers Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) who plays by the rules with an insanely happy demeanour and Russell Gettis (Jason Segal) who is clearly bemused by Elizabeth’s antics. But when Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) starts teaching at the school, there becomes a race for his romantic affection between the two ladies.

There is something about this film that really works for me. Perhaps it is the magnificent slapstick or the crass humour or just seeing JT in such a geeky and hilarious role. Or perhaps it is that when Elizabeth is tested, after showing no sense of caring about anyone or anything but herself, she doesn’t end up with an absolute heart of gold; yes, she comes through for the poetry-loving kid who embarrasses himself in front of the class, but not in a way that is in any sense appropriate for a teacher. And I loved that.