A time travel comedy featuring some top British acting talent – what could go wrong?
As it turns out, quite alot and while it may create a paradox, I’d happily travel back to tell me earlier this evening not to press play on the DVD and instead spend the evening scrawling patterns on the wall with my face using cat shit.
Pitched as Shaun of the Dead meets Doctor Who (because it made me feel like a zombie and one and a quarter hours of my life disappeared?), Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel tells the story of sci-fi geeks Ray and Toby, and their cynical mate, Pete, who find a hole in time in the gents’ toilets of their local pub.
Hilarious mishaps ensue as the trio travel forward and backward in time at random, eventually becoming the inspiration for a future civilisation based on one of their ideas, written on a scrap of paper.
The main problem was I had already seen Bill and Ted which told the same story 10 times better 20 years ago.
Compared to that, FAQATT didnt stand up well. That was despite the best efforts of Chris O’Dowd as Ray, who puts in far more than the film deserves.
He also made me laugh for the first time, albeit one hour and nine minutes in, when there is a mildly amusing joke about one of the character’s sex lives.
His patented geeky charm can only go so far though when his fellow actors show the comic touch of Frank Carson with leprosy and seemed to be telexing their performances in, never mind phoning. They just seemed so … bored, although having watched the film, I can sympathise with that.
The story – although pushing some geek buttons – just seemed strained and would have been better as a promising 30 minute sitcom.
Instead it was massively padded out with scenes that went nowhere, paradoxically overstretching a budget probably big enough to pay for the cast of Casualty’s sandwich bill.
That meant it never held my attention or contained enough of the sci-fi in jokes and references I was looking forward to picking out. (Back to the Future and Flash Gordon was all I got – may have been more but I was stabbling myself in the leg to stay awake after 25 minutes).
By the end, I was left feeling angry that the chance to make a genre comedy like this had been spunked away.
FAQATT and films or shows like it just give sci-fi a bad name and a big stick for geek-haters to beat us over the head with. Avoid.