Monday 22 February 2010

Time-Men (2009)

Director: Mark Gumbinger
Stars: Ramon Flores, Steve Neahous, Elizabeth Moore and Louis Rugani

'Ever feel like we're wasting our time?' says Alex, one of our two lead characters. He and his friend Ben have fun and learn cool stuff but they never actually do anything. They need a purpose, so they come up with a great new idea. Why not invent time travel, so they can go all Michael J Fox and become heroes by changing the past? And yeah, it comes out of the blue that quickly and they take it that seriously. Conveniently they have a time travel lecture the next day so they can throw questions at their professor.

The catch is that they're dweebs, utter dweebs, well beyond the horrendous level of acting which isn't up to any realistic standard. But at least the acting is better than the script. Now I'm no physicist but I have some scientific and computing knowledge and this script is dumber than an episode of CSI: Miami, which really takes something. The whole thing can be summed up by this amazing slice of dialogue: 'I don't understand what we're doing wrong,' says Alex. 'It's got to be our wireless connection,' replies Ben. 'It's not strong enough to create a wormhole.'

Yeah. OK. So with this grasp of physics, they drive off down the road in mom's Mercedes to test their new time machine. It's a really complex affair: they hook up a metal belt to a battery, place it on the back seat and put an apple in the middle. Naturally it works and the apple moves in time. So they take it to the next step. The TV newscaster says a boy was killed after being hit by a car, so back goes Alex to save him, naturally taking the ultimate precaution: he wears a camouflaged bike helmet.

I just love how ludicrous this gets. It really is the modern equivalent of the sort of science fiction film from the fifties that Joel and the robots made fun of. I couldn't help but watch this and picture those guys riffing the crap out of this. It's a gift for them because there are so many riffable scenes, from Ben's mom trying it on with Alex in the kitchen to her impromptu romance scene with Dr Steiner, the time travel professor; from Dr Steiner dreaming himself into a North By Northwest scene to the ludicrous scene where Ben argues with himself into converging with himself and becoming a speed reader.

And there's one of the most truly awesome B movie lines of all time: 'Science, you truly are a bastard!' How can we ignore a film with a line like that? How about, 'I'll start saving people when they're on the endangered species list'? And beyond the dialogue, can we resist the gratuitous running through the fields scene, or the childish romance scene in the playground? How about the worst bar fight of all time? How about Dr Steiner's dental floss scene or the laptop fight or the rape scene with all it's repetition of the word 'hard'?

How about Ben getting all Terminator psycho after his convergence with himself? This character development is truly awesome. He becomes a genius, so much so that he thinks one cubed is there. He has developed amazing technology like the cure for cancer but can't figure out how use a chair. He rapes Alex's girlfriend Liz because he decides he hates Alex but then he kills someone who hits him in a bar. He even gets a slow motion push scene.

Really the only problem with this is the fact that it knows it's a low budget movie and doesn't try to pretend it isn't. If this had been made by Tommy Wiseau it would be something pretty close to the same thing but it would have cost six million dollars and thought it was Citizen Kane. That's what made The Room so stunning: it thought it was better than it was. This doesn't and somehow I wish it did. Somehow I wish this was Wiseau's science fiction film and producer/director Mark Gumbinger's other film Mortuary Girls was Wiseau's horror movie. I so have to get hold of it now.

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